No.728744[Last 50 Posts]
Seeking refuge, the party have fled the Sands, staying hidden in the elusive town of Last Hearth. While they are safe from Lysander for now, they have found that Last Hearth comes with its own slew of problems. The borough is entirely controlled by a party of elites known as the Parliament, keeping hegemony over all its residents in the form of imposing constructs.
While exploring, the party have discovered several things:
The Keepers, mechanical sentinels that watch over Last Hearth, are in fact composed of the corpses of captured criminals.
Several areas of Last Hearth are marked as "Condemned" - though what this means and why is unclear.
The Parliament are a reclusive cabal, operating in and around a building known as the Parliament House.
An event known as the Night of the Hunt has been organized, due to happen in two weeks. This involves the mass slaughter of slaves purchased from the nefarious Chanticleers, and the subsequent reclaiming of their corpses to a place called Morrilcole, though to what end is unclear.
Perhaps most importantly for the party, Silver and Aegis have met a waif called Lilura. Afflicted with a disease that renders her vulnerable to fractures, Lilura has been pining to escape Last Hearth for a long time. She has offered to trade her entire supply of stockpiled goods in exchange for being smuggled out.
Hermodur, Rabi, Silver, Aegis:
You keep moving, continually making your way through the towering, point-roofed buildings of Last Hearth. You've found that due to the circular design of the town, it's quite easy to find yourselves going in circles. On every corner is a Keeper, and Observers lazily float through city streets. The citizens all look malnourished, keeping their heads down, most not giving you more than a second glance. Occasionally, the large gramophone-like structures placed throughout the city will blare a message, always with the same educated male voice.
"Evil can walk in any form and take any flesh. Stay vigilant, and report any suspicious activity to your nearest Keeper."
"Feeling wretched? Can't make ends meet? Fear not. Morrilcole Home for the Disadvantaged is here to help."
"Please remember to have authorization papers on you at all times if entering a Parliament area or if engaging a Parliament member in conversation. Violations will not be taken lightly."
"Ensure you are well rehearsed in all breach protocols. There is no excuse for panic or confusion in the event of a drill."
"Visiting from abroad? Need someplace to call home? The Sudbury Building is now open for free unlimited lodging, assuming you pass the physical condition exams."
Eventually, you run into each other - almost literally. You are on one of Last Hearth's many street corners, all nigh indistinguishable from each other. You're not sure which way to go to return to the ship, but at least you're together, for now.
Dawn smiles, and Etrigan nods. "Yes, though through no effort of our own, I must confess. Zunden here did all the work in reconnecting us. We are deeply indebted to her for this. Hopefully, in time, the connection can be shared between all of us. …Or we can find a way to restore his voice, he says. It would be much simpler…"
She looks a bit confused at your concern. Etrigan seems to tell her something, and she touches her muzzle. "Oh. I hadn't even noticed. It must have been from passing through the Doors just now. Ever since I've started my research, I've been able to reach further and further with them. But, it does seem to take its toll…"
Etrigan's usual air of melancholy is replaced by a staunch sense of determination. "He says that even if you do not accept… he is here to help. Whatever you need of him, he will provide. …I feel the same, truth be told. We all owe you our lives many times over."
Norv enters the room, underdressed and looking rather shabby, like he's been in a scrap. He doesn't seem too injured, though.
"Hmm… so, that leaves Etrigan, Zunden, and Dawn then. yeah? I think Dawn was still on the ship, but I'm not sure…"
>>728655>"I followed some Chanticleers to the parliment building, snuck in to get a look around, and killed a keeper. R&G are hanging on to my mask and coat because I ran away from a few others and I'm sure they got a good look at me. There's this event where people hunt down slaves, and the Chanticleers supply them. That's in two weeks. I'm not hurt, but I have a lot of planning to do. I'm sure the others are fine. I split up from them at the place you sign up for the hunt." I tap my finger against the side of my leg and think for a second befote glancing down at Purdue "Did I miss anything?"
"You.. You killed zomeone Norvigecuz? Are you zure zhingz are okay? Zhey zaw who you are, and you came in wizh ze ozherz right? Are zhey in danger?
Zunden nods, though distracted by the news from Norv, "I.. zhank you, I appreziate it. We can zpeak more on it at anozher time, zhiz zoundz more prezzing.
"Oh, I'll be fine. I- I think I just need to lay down for a little bit. I didn't actually kill
someone, thank goodness. The keepers are- well, they're weird. More like robot zombies than anything. The others shouldn't be in danger. I split up with them pretty fast, and nothing I did had anything to do with them, but-" I rub the back of my neck. "Well, I guess maybe
they could question them or something? But I think they'll be fine. The whole reason I left them was because I didn't want to put anyone in danger.">>728745
I knit my brow. "Jeez. Well, don't overdo it." I study her for a second. "So you can open doors further away now?"
Surprised to find each other so soon, i greet everypony with a wing. "Ah, wonderful, we've found you! Aegis and I have some.. interesting news to share about the supplies, when we've privacy for it." i add, gesturing to the keepers further away.
"How goes the rest of you?"
"Yeah, lucky us- this place feels like some sort of maze. We had Norvegicus, but he's… busy, I suppose. Other than that, I think we're fine- a little creeped out, but fine. Have you seen Zunden, by chance? We wanted to hook back up." he says, before tilting his head to the side. "And, yeah- we could talk back on the ship, maybe."
"Hmnn… I ztill worry for zhem. Do you ahve your Harbinger by chanze? You could contact zhem and make zure zhey're okay.
, but I sent it to them so they'd know I was alright. I told them to meet back here tonight."
''We have not seen her no. What about you two? Have you found anything noteworthy?'' Aegis glances between Hermodur and Rabi
"Zunden? She mentioned staying behind to research a few artifacts. In theory, she should still be on the ship."
"She had passed me the bits for the supplies earlier, though it seems for the most part this city is too lacking to be of much help."
Dawn nods back understandingly. "Likewise." She and Etrigan focus their attention on Norv, for now.>>728748
"Yes. And for longer. But it wears me out, as you can see. I'll have to do more research into it. There's still much I don't understand about the Doors." Both she and Etrigan seem interested in your own escapades.>>728747>>728748
Soon enough, you hear the others returning from their expedition, making their way back on board.>>728746
"Zunden returned to the ship, as I recall, along with Etrigan, Dawn, and Violet," Marisol points out.>>728749>>728753
"This place is even worse than we thought," says Marisol grimly. "They're buying slaves just to kill them and using their bodies for… something. I dread to know what. We were told they were to manufacture more Keepers, but that can't possibly be right. They have plenty of them as is…"
"And you? Did you manage to find anything noteworthy?">>728749>>728750>>728753
Reunited with everyone else, you make your way out of Last Hearth. You find yourselves being watched by an Observer for much of your trip back. When you get to the main entrance, you find that Rosen and Gilder seem to have been allowed entrance eventually, though business seems to be going dreadfully for them, with not a single customer inspecting their wares. In fact, they seem to be packing up to leave already.
Moving on, you head towards the treeline, and eventually get to the ship. You can hear Zunden, Norv and Dawn on board already.
''Yes, but that is better discussed in the ship. Come''>>728751
Approaching the ship's group, Aegis was the first to speak up
''We found supplies, good ones, but they come with a catch. The one offering them would like to be smuggled out of the city with us. This is not a requirement for the goods, but a separate favor they asked''
My ear twitches as I hear the others return. "Huh. I guess they were closer behind me than I thought.">>728756
I chuckle. "Straight to the point without even saying hi. Whoever it is, I don't blame them. That place is terrible. How much are they offering?"
"It seems to me that their obsession with building more observers has begun to borderline on paranoid. They've stumbled upon a fantastically clever system that corrects itself. Use the criminals as a system that prevents crime. When crime rises, so does the anticrime unit. When crime falls, so too does the need for as many observers. Thus, they naturally end up with less. It's like an ecosystem in how it is self-sustaining."
"Unfortunately, they seem to have lost sight of that elegance."
"Goodness.. whatever they need them for, it must be quite severe, given the volume of slaves the chanticleers were carrying.">>728756
"Yes, she mentioned travel through the aqueduct as a possible route out of the city with the supplies, though they remain guarded. It would result in a fight most likely, but when the alternative is a drawn out brawl through the condemned mines, this proves much simpler."
''Food, Good food at that, water, some essential supplies and a couple of trinkets. All very useful for us. But I suggest we do not take their request. If we are caught trying to bring her out of the city with us, it will be considered a crime, and that is a risk we cannot take in our current situation''
"Mnn, my only worry again iz how they have recorded all of your namez. We already have bountiez in Braildorn, do we wizh to continue zhiz trend in ozher townz? Even wizh dizguizez, if a band of five to zixz are zeen zmuggling out a rezident after a band of five to zixz juzt entered ze town, zurely zhey would draw a concluzion.
"Geez, crowd's that rough?" the stallion asks as they spot Rosen and Gilder, frowning a little bit. "Sorry about that- I guess people here are just sorta… I unno, cagey.">>728755>>728756>>728759
"Oh, right- might as well hop on and talk with the others then, yeah?"
"I mean that's only if we get caught. The point of smuggling is to not
get caught, right?"
"Ah, that would be why travel through the Aquifer would be our safest choice, provided we assist her. By her account, a lighter level of guards would let us slip through without issue."
''Indeed, this just further complicates the situation. It would be best if we simply took the supplies and left, telling the Dog who offered them that we will return to rescue her later''>>728763
''That will be nearly impossible, Master Norvegicus'' Aegis refutes ''Their surveillance is incredible, and they examine anyone that leaves the town. Even if we manage to escape without being caught, it will be like Zunden said. They have records on us and every resident of this place. Once they realize one of them is mysteriously missing right after a band of travelers visited the city, they will connect the dots and put a bounty on our heads''
Aegis stared at Norv with her usual cold gaze ''It is not worth it to soil our names on whats possibly the last safe haven in the Echoes for us all just to fulfil the desires of a sickly Dog''
You find Zunden, Norv, Dawn and Etrigan sitting in the dining room, deep in conversation. Dawn looks like she's been through the wringer, having a slight nosebleed and looking rather disheveled, but otherwise in good spirits. Etrigan greets you with his customary deep nod, while Dawn looks glad to have everyone together. "Ah. Hello again. Good timing. I was waiting on everyone to arrive. I have an announcement to make, if you have the time.">>728758
"Or, there's another reason they want those bodies," Marisol muses. "I don't think I want to know the truth.""If you ask me,"
Purdue chimes in, "they're up to no good. Norv wanted to try and sneak into the Parliament House to investigate a bit. Those red cloaked creeps are hiding something. I can feel it in my bones.">>728760
Dawn listens in on the proposal, frowning slightly. "And you're sure we can just take their supplies without helping them? That hardly seems fair to this person. Perhaps I could help through the Silver Doors?">>728761>>728765
"To be fair," Marisol points out, "how likely is it that we'll be back here any time soon? This place is awful enough as is. If even Lysander's failed to get his claws in the place, it's insular enough that we shouldn't have to worry about repercussions outside of its walls. Right?">>728762
Rosen just grumbles indistinctly. "They keep watching us," Gilder points out, gesturing at an Observer that's hovering in circles around their wagon. "And none of the citizens want much to do with us. Nothing for us here. Only reason we're staying for a bit is 'cause we owe your mate Norv a favor."
"That then raises the issue of taking the supplies with us. I've a suspicion they would be quick to confiscate that much food and water, should we try and leave through the gates, 'noble's property' and all that."
I scoff and point in the general direction of the city. "You call that
shithole a safe haven?" I shake my head. "No. It's just as bad as any bandit or cannibal camp we run into. The only difference is at least the bandits and cannibals don't have any delusions of being peacekeepers. It's not totally impenetrable. I almost made it into the Parlement house with just me and Purdue. I would've made it inside, too, if I didn't break the keeper and set off this alarm thing they have."
I nod. "That's why I was asking, dawn. Not specifically to help this dog -though it seems like a good idea now-, but because I still plan to help the slaves. Nothing about this place sits right with me, and I can't just leave."
"Right. Well, I hope things go better for you two at the next stop, at least.">>728766
"Jeez, Dawn- are you okay?" he asks, wincing a little bit as he looks her over. "Have you, uh… have you been getting enough sleep?" he asks, his ears folding back as he regards her with concern. "A-And, uh, what's the announcement?"
''Its at least safe enough from Lysander. Whoever is ruling the place could be a formidable foe even for him. Or at least I hope so, either way this is not the main issue. We cannot risk any of us being caught, imprisioned or killed. It will be even worse if they have a mind reader in there. Who knows what will happen if they know we have the egg, and understand its importance''
"Ah, your experiments are going well?" Hermodur asks with slight concern as Dawn begins her announcement.
"Do not mizinterpret my concernz az a reazon not to help one in need, Aegiz Glaze.
" Zunden says, in a quiet but stern voice. "I azk ze ozherz to be careful, not to abandon zomeone zlowy dying in zhere.
"Pleaze, let uz not zquabble. Multiple in ze party are ezpecially profizient in being clandeztine, in zhiz caze I believe we would do well to have a few do ze opperation and move ze zuppliez wizh ze bag of holding and ze magic carpet.
"Norvegicuz haz made mention of zlave hunting eventz zhat take plaze outzide ze zity, who knowz if zhey would track down zheir criminalz az well.
''I am only stating what I think of this matter. Do you really want to take the risk of the entire existence on someone who will not be remotely useful in the long run? She only wants us to drop her off in the next town over''
''Besides, we could simply do this later, once the Egg is safe''
"We cannot make a journey to hide away ze Egg wizhout zuppliez to get uz zhere,
Aegiz Glaze. I will even take ze anger of one town if it meanz we will not ztarve on our travelz. Zo unlezz you can conjure food out of zhin air, zhe iz uzeful.
" Zunden crosses her arms.
''Perhaps I did not made myself clear.'' Aegis said calmly ''It is not required that we take her with us for the goods. She said she will willingly giving them to us, regardless if we help her or not''
"And that doesn't sound-" I wave my hand, pretending to search for a word I obviously already have. "Completely horrible and immoral to you?"
''Somewhat'' She states plainly ''But what will it matter that we get her out if it ends up potentially getting the egg taken from us?''
"Zhe can be taken to ze next town wizhout ever being expozed to it, Aegiz. Your paranoia knowz no boundz, conzidering it iz one dizeazed diamond dog admizt an entire crew.
''That is not what I am worried about, Zunden. My paranoia, as you call it, is fear of any of us being caught, imprisioned and having the Egg be known by whoever governs the Last Hearth. Do you really want to risk having another one like Lysander in our hands?''
"Zhen how do you plan to remove ze zuppliez covertly, if getting caught taking her iz zuch a cauze for conzern.
" Zunden asks, voice gradually gaining more strength the longer the conversation goes on.
Dawn seems a bit worried about the notion. "It's one thing to smuggle a person and some supplies out of town, but another entirely to try and thwart the rulers themselves. Are you sure you know what you're doing?">>728770
She notes your concern. "I'll be alright," she says, with a smile. "The past few hours have been taxing. But I've made a breakthrough. I think you'll find this quite interesting.">>728771
Dawn nods. "I don't think it's a good idea to intervene in this whole hunt situation. But we do need supplies. And, if we can secure a safe and secret path, it wouldn't hurt to help someone in need. My Doors could help. Silver, Violet, Norv and Rabi are all adept at going unseen. I'm sure we can come up with some sort of plan.">>728773
"That's true," Marisol concedes. "But I've been traveling the Echoes far and wide for some time under Grosvenor, and no one had ever even heard of the Parliament or the Keepers until now. All we knew is that Last Hearth existed. They don't seem to wish to draw much attention to their activities, is the point I'm trying to make. I have good reason to believe we'd be safe from them if we put good distance between us.">>728772
"Better than ever. In fact…"
Dawn clears her throat. "I don't mean to steer the conversation away from the task at hand, but you'll want to hear this. Zunden already knows. Well… it's about the sword Rabi brought me. And the magic contained therein."
"As you probably know, I've been hard at work trying to discern the thaumic properties of that sword. Being linked to the rainbow portals that deposited us all here, I believed that I could perhaps glean a little more on the nature of said portals by studying the sword's enchantment."
"And I believe I've made a breakthrough. A revolutionary one. Something that hasn't been accomplished before."
She pauses for dramatic effect, looking excited to share her discoveries. She rummages around before pulling out a glass vial from her cloak. Inside is a strand of smoke, curling and twisting of its own accord, shining every single color in the rainbow.
"I… I think I might have succeeded in incorporating this magic into my Silver Door spells. They are certainly much more effective now. But they seem to take a toll on me physically. But that's not the half of it. I have a theory, about the nature of this place in relation to the Dominion from whence we came."
"Indulge me. In certain magical circles here in the Echoes, I have used the phrase 'the other side of the sky' used in reference to this dimension. Perhaps you have too. I have an idea. What if it's not just a turn of phrase, but a literal one? What if the reason those portals appear in the sky of the Echoes is because this dimension is tethered, physically, to the Dominion itself?"
"Pure conjecture, of course. No evidence to it as of now. But I believe if I keep pushing hard enough with my Doors - perhaps emboldened by more of such magic - I might be able to open one to the Dominion itself. And that would be… well, I'm sure I don't have to emphasize how much this would break the world, if it's true. I could potentially be the first in millennia, if not the first in existence
, to bridge the Echoes and the Dominion."
"Well, in theory at least. I might very well be wrong. Truth be told, part of me hopes I am. I can't imagine what would happen if the bridge between worlds was formed, and things from both worlds spilled into each other."
"Another thing. Through Zunden's genius and hard work, my good friend Etrigan has regained his voice. In a manner. He and I share a bond now. I will speak for him, at least until we find a way to restore it for good. But it is the first step to helping him."
"That's… that's about it. I thought you'd all want to know. There might be a way to go home again. A sliver of hope. But still hope."
Violet speaks up. You hadn't noticed, but she slipped into the room while Dawn was speaking. She seems to have been taking inventory of the ship beforehand. "That's… incredible," she says shakily, "and… and terrifying. I can't even imagine what would happen if… if it worked." She looks over to Norv, her worries abated for a moment, smiling under her cloth mask.
Marisol looks gravely concerned at the news, not speaking up just yet, brooding over it quietly. "A way home,"
Purdue muses. "What is home, anyway…"
Listening as she explains her findings, my eyes light up as she mentions a means of returning home.
"Really? You're saying there's a chance of leaving this place after all?"
"What a lovely thought, leaving this nonsense behind and returning to relative normality.."
"You mentioned your doors are more effective, how so? If we could simply cast a door from their hiding place to our ship, we could circumvent this entire situation!"
''You said it yourself. With the Bag of Holding, which will be much less suspicious, unlikely to be extensively examine, and even if it comes to that, we can simply say those were ours all along'' She replies, her own tone as calm as ever>>728782
Aegis turns to Dawn, and lowers her head, defeated. ''So be it. If you insist on saving her and have a plan for it, then I will do my best to help and ensure none of my fears happen''>>728783
Aegis simply stares at Dawn, her eyes a bit wider than usual as she hears her speak
''That is indeed incredible. Master Dawn, you have discovered perhaps the most valuable power in this Realm, being able to escape it. Once we safely store the egg away, I insist we extensively discuss about this matter''
"You… you did? That's incredible, Dawn. The physical toll is concerning, so, you know… d-don't push it, please." he says, offering a soft smile. "It's good that you can help Etrigan speak, too- n-not that writing back and forth with you has been tedious or anything, Etrigan. It'd just be good to hear you, and all."
"But, back to the point- I guess I see where that'd make sense, and all- if they were able to open a portal and push us 'here', it only makes sense that the right kind of portal would, well, send us back. Things spilling out is a little, ah… concerning, though. Is there any way to test it?" he asks, before looking to Purdue and humming in thought. "That's a good point, actually- not all of us really came from the same Dominion, I think. I guess we'd be going back to whatever 'when' is closest, maybe?">>728784
"Maybe she needs to know the place herself? I'm not really sure, but maybe she could… provided it isn't too straining, of course."
"How would that even work?" Hermodur shakes his head at the notion of connecting the two worlds. "We're not even chronologically locked to the Dominion. How could we be physically?"
"I mean it sounds like she's outnumbered anyway, so-" I shrug.>>728780
"Help or not. Seems like a few of us still want to do it.">>728782
"Honestly? No idea. And I don't have much time to figure it out, either, but I still think I should try. Probably not thward the whole system, but at least try to save a few of the slaves." My ears fold back and I glance to the ground. "Be nice if I could save more, though. Still gonna try.">>728783
My jaw drops a little at the revelation. "Are you serious? I figured it was possible somehow
, but never would have guessed it was so close." I walk over to Violet and stand beside her. "Yeah. Terrifying is right. Not something we should just toss around willy nilly. A lot of the folks and things here really probably shouldn't be getting back home."
Ignoring Aegis' first comment, Zunden nods with Aegis' final one as well as Rabi's first comment.
"I have had zaid ze zame zhing, more or lezz. It iz exzellent newz zhould we hide ze egg away, zo now iz ze time for Dawn to rezt, recover, and ztart to practize zo zhat zhe may make her portalz wizhout zacrifizing herzelf in return. After all, if you are not alive to create ze portalz, zhen nozhing will have been gained. Zuztainability over hazte.
''Very well, then I will help, if at least to ensure it will not end in failure''>>728789
''So what will be the new plan then? Take the egg out of the Echoes and seal it away safely back at the Dominion?''
"Definitely. I'd hate to lose her because of a portal she made- no matter how important it'd be."
"Don't get your hopes up too much," Dawn warns. "It's only a theory. As I said, there's nothing to back it up. Until I can experiment more with these amplified Doors, it's only a hypothesis.">>728784
"I can only open doors in places I know well. Or that others do, and can describe in full detail. I'd have to travel to this person you've come across, and open a door from there. I don't know if I could do it, though. The last time I opened a door, I almost passed out afterwards…">>728786
Etrigan nods, looking happy. "He says he's looking forward to speaking with you as well. Hopefully soon."
"That's another thing. If we could find one of those portals in action, it would help my research immensely. They are a one way trip, but there has to be a way to make it go both ways. Or at least, if I could study one in action, I could try and replicate their properties more easily. As for testing it, well, I don't remember too much from my time in the Dominion. I've been here quite some time now. I don't think I could replicate an area from it in my mind. But, if I shared the memories and vision of someone who knows it better, perhaps I could try to open a door… Hm…">>728786>>728787
"I'm glad you asked. …I have no clue. That's the biggest flaw in the Tether Theory, as I like to call it. Chronomancy was never a subject I studied extensively, but from the little I do know, I have the notion that the Echoes do not exist in the same "frame" of time. It exists, but time has no meaning to it. In other words, if time in the Dominion is a line, then the Echoes are a fixed point. If that makes sense. Though, again, it's likely I'm wrong.">>728788
Violet nods in agreement. "If this works," she says forcefully to Dawn, "then we can't share this with anyone. Imagine if word got out that there was a way to go back. Everyone would want to do it."
Dawn nods, looking grim at the implications of her theory. "As I said. If I'm right about this - and that's a big if - it's the discovery of the century. I don't even know what I'd do if I could open a way back."
Violet looks a bit worried about your talk of saving the slaves and causing trouble in Last Hearth. "Is that what you've been up to?" she asks under her breath. She looks worried to death all of a sudden. "O-on your own?">>728789
"Right, right." Dawn looks even more tired all of a sudden. "We should all get some rest. But first, we ought to settle what we're going to be doing about the supply situation. And this person seeking refuge. Do we have a plan yet? I don't think I could use my doors too much, not for a few days at least."
"Zhat iz… hmnn.. zhere are great evilz in ze Dominion too, it would be too rizky to leave it in ze handz of whoever findz it zhere.
"Do you have a method of sharing memories with someone?" Hermodur asks Dawn. "If not, I think I might have an alternative solution."
''Still, it is big, and if you allow me, I would like to study this further with you when we can, and regarding the issue researching a portal into action… I think maybe I could help with that. I have a certain talent for understanding magic I see, as you could tell. I'm still not certain, but I think I can 'read' the leftover magical energies that echo from the spell, so if I can do it for a portal from the Dominion, I might be able to transcribe it''>>728793
I rock on my feet, tap my finger against the leg of my slacks, and glance away. "I mean, when you put it like that it makes it sound like I did something reckless and needlessly dangerous. But hey! Get this! I don't know if I just got lucky, or I've gotten really good at sneaking around, but I made it through just fine!" I turn to her and hold my arms out to show I'm more or less completely unharmed.
"Ah, dang. So, that is going to be a bit of a problem… well, cross that bridge when we get to it, right? We know what we've got, and… if it works, we know what we need, I guess. I didn't even know Chronomancy was a thing, honestly."
"Our planz for now do not change. After ze egg iz hidden in zhiz dimenzion, we will figure out what it iz we need to finalize ze portal magic.
"I would not know, I would zhink it would be ze two couplez zhat would be mozt adept at planning zuch a zhing, given zheir exzpertize in ztealth.
''I thought you were going to take a break after the egg was dealt with''
"Yez, multiple zhingz can occur after we deal wizh ze Egg.
" Zunden says flatly.
Marisol frowns with disapproval from the sidelines, as if knowing what you have in mind.
Dawn shakes her head. "Zunden might be able to help. The same way she linked me to Silver's sight, or Etrigan to my mind. If you have an alternative, I'd be curious to hear it.">>728795
Dawn nods. "And with your mimicry, I could have a better sample of the magical forces from the portal. …Well. We'll have to keep an eye out for portals, won't we. Or that is to say, you will. Heh.">>728796
Her brow furrows, and as you hold out your arms she hugs you after a moment of hesitation. "Norv… You can't keep doing this. First the whole Kairon thing, now this…. At least take one of us with you next time. If you get yourself hurt, or captured, or killed, I… I don't know what I'll do." She gives you a little squeeze and pulls away. "Promise me, Norv," she says earnestly. "Promise me you won't just run off and get involved in these things by yourself anymore?">>728797
"It's one of the more esoteric branches of magic. Far beyond even my reach, to be honest. Far too complex. And dangerous. Very dangerous. But yes, we'll have to find a way for me to access one's memories at some point. Otherwise there's no point in following this train of thought any further.">>728798
"…Right. Well, if you have any ideas on how to approach this, I'm all ears. It's not exactly my area of expertise either. Hm.">>728797>>728796>>728784
Dawn addresses you along with Violet. "So, to the task at hand. You are the ones most suited to stealth operations. Do you have any ideas on how we could smuggle out the supplies and this person in need of safe transport? I'd be willing to help with my spells as best I can, but I'd need time to convalesce after today."
Hermodur reaches into his pocket. He pulls out the vial with one last remaining drop of Dreaming Spring water. He stares at it for a moment, his hand trembling.
"This…" he says as if it takes him effort to speak. "Is Dreaming Spring water. A drop of this will make you dream about whoever you think of when you drink it. You will see what they are doing at that very moment. If there is someone you can think of who is certain to be still in the Dominion, then think of them when you drink this. Then, you will see the Dominion as clearly as if you were there. If all you need to be able to open a door remotely is to know the place, then this is what you need."
"I… I'm not sure, really. I could try and scout out ahead and make sure everything's okay, but I'm not particularly good at sneaking around. I'm also still a tad concerned about the changes, but… as long as I'm careful, it ought to be fine."
"Well.. We had discussed the issue with our soon-to-be benefactor earlier. According to her, the thinnest areas of city security would be the mines, which are filled with whatever creature they mentioned earlier, and the aqueducts in the northeast sector of the city."
"If we were to follow the Aqueduct to it's outlet in the mountain with cargo in tow, we should be able to load the ship and leave without alerting too many keepers down below."
"I-" My ears fold back. She's right. I probably shouldn't just wander off, but- I nod. "Alright. I just didn't want to drag anyone else into it. But I was getting somewhere with Kairon! I just got a little too lax. I really think she could have changed, at least enough to not backstab us."
I turn to Dawn. "Well, I got some of that vanishing dust from Rosen and Glider. That would make sneaking around easier. There's also thay black robe thing. That thing also helps, I think." I shrug. "If you wanted to take a couple days to rest, what if one of us snuck in, loaded all the stuff into the bag, and sent Rabi's bird messenger back here to describe what the place looked like? If you needed we could try to find somewhere closer to the gate. If that don't work then I'm sure we can figure something else out."
Zunden nods along, listening to the others.
"Following zheir ideaz, I do believe I could have ze zhip pozed and ready to leave at any time where ze manage to make it out. I zhink it would be bezt if we were ready to leave immediately, inztead rizk a chanze at guardz boarding ze Fate'z Fortune, zhould zhey be zeen.
Aegis nod, not amused by Dawn's joke ''I will keep close watch. It helps that my room has a big window to the outside so I can keep an eye out from there''
''I have something that might help as well'' Aegis produces a dark blue cloack ''The Raven's cloack I bought earlier. I wouldnt mind borrowing it to either of you if needed''
I cock my eyebrow. "That's the robe thing I meant. Huh. I thought Silvy had it. Anyway, yeah. That on top of the dust should make it really easy to get around without being seen."
''I bought it before her. I thought it'd be more useful for me than it would be for her, but maybe I was wrong'' She says, floating the cloack in front of her, staring at the piece of clothing with an unreadable face
She seems apprehensive, from the tone of your voice. "Dreamwater… I have heard of it only in passing. It is a rare gift. …Are you sure you want to use it for this?" she asks. It is dear to you. I can tell. If I am wrong about all this… I would not want to squander it.">>728803
She nods. "Your astral projection will be of great use in scouting a path for us," she agrees. "Perhaps you and Aegis could even scout it together. She knows it too, to an extent.">>728804>>728806
"That could work," Violet pipes up. "Especially if we have the ship waiting up on the mountain itself, instead of at the aqueduct. It should be outside of their patrol area, right? Course, then we'd have to risk crossing the aqueduct without being seen at all…">>728805
"I'd rather get dragged into things than have you suffer alone," she says adamantly. "I don't want to nag, I just don't want you getting hurt. I don't really get what you've gotten mixed up in now, but I'll try and help you out of it."
Dawn nods. "That's certainly an option. Perhaps it would be better, though, if I myself went and took a stroll around the area? I may be blind, but I can still make out areas enough to be able to open doors to them."
"I was actually thinking you could accompany Rabi in his astral form," she suggests. "If you can mimic spells, you could try doing so with him. Between the two of you, you could cover more ground undetected."
''I was thinking of copying your Portal spell'' Aegis replies to Dawn ''But I suppose this also frees up the cloack for either Master Silver or Master Norvegicus. So be it''>>728803
''Are you ready for this, Master Rabi?''
Hermodur stares at the vial. "What if we… mixed the two ideas?"
"Surely, with all the magic those of us are capable of in this room, we must have some way to share a dream? Then, I could drink the dreamwater, and you could see it through my own dream."
"Hmm.. Given my practice with moving stealthily, i'd imagine Norvy would find more use for it."
"Though i must say it does look quite lovely, Once this is over i certainly wouldn't mind holding onto it" i add, batting my eyes at the stoic unicorn.
"As ready as I can be, I suppose. Do you need to do anything to prepare, Aegis? Or, are you good to go?" he asks, flicking his tail at the 'Master' title. No point in saying anything about it now.
"Yeah. Alright. Sorry. Honestly I don't think I've really gotten myself into
anything just yet. Just planning to."
I look at Dawn. "You mean, like, just go into town and walk around? Would you-" I pause and shift uncomfortably, not sure how to ask this next part. Finally I settle on, "Would you want one of us to go with you?"
"I will get ze zhip moving.
" Zunden says, affirmatively.
''I'll let you keep it if you give me something worthy in exchange''>>728816
''I just need to see you do it, then it'll be much easier for me to follow along'' She sat patiently
I look down at myself and hold my arms out. "You think it'd actually fit me alright?"
"Well, alright. Let's see if I can get this started, then.">>728815>>728811
"We'll go ahead and do some scouting, then. Hopefully we can find a couple good routes, just in case." the stallion says, settling down and beginning to focus.>Astral Projection
Aegis watched silently, and closed her eyes, there was a very faint glow to her as she concentrated>taking 6 for Spellsnatcher
"Well.. maybe. While we have the time, we may as well have you try it on while we have the time. Better to find out now than while the plan is underway."
"The choice is yours," she states plainly. "Either would be a good option. Though, the Silver Doors are taxing enough on me right now. If you haven't used them before, they might take quite a lot out of you.">>728814
"Perhaps," Dawn nods. "If Zunden was able to bind my mind and Etrigan's, among other uses, I'm sure she could do the same with dreams. Though, we should focus on the task at hand for now. Where will you be, during this operation?" she asks.>>728817
"Are you offering?" she asks with a smile of amusement. Violet frowns a little. "I would appreciate the company, certainly. …Etrigan says he will accompany me. If you wish to come with us, you are more than welcome to.">>728816>>728821
You sit down and focus for a while, departing your body. As you do so, something odd happens. You feel a sense of disorientation, and your vision warps and heaves, distorting in a flash. Your mind feels like it's split across space and time…A dimly lit room. Shelves of old books, scrolls and trinkets line the walls. You stand in the middle of a diagram of chalk, in the shape of an unfamiliar symbol. A Felid, black and white, dressed in a red cloak, stands before you, her paw outstretched, face unreadable.You collapse to your knees. It feels like you're being torn apart at the joints. Your paws - paws? - vanish, then reappear, then vanish again. it spreads to the rest of your body. Your very essence is split across existence. You scream in abject terror and agony. It's not your voice. "What… What's happening to me?!…"
The vision passes in a flash, and you find yourself floating above your body as before, semi translucent. A bit of testing reveals you can still fly about as before.>>728822
Watching Rabi as he begins the Astral Projection, you copy his magical methods and do the same. Before long, you find yourself watching your own body slump over. Looking down at yourself, you see you are see-through, and floating a few inches above the ground. Rabi, presumably due to being more adept, seems to be able to properly fly while projecting, light as a feather.
Aegis watches as Rabi floats nearby, then glances down at herself before looking back at the spirit Stallion and nodding, waiting for action
Hermodur puts the vial away.
"My only goal is to protect my friends. So, I will be between them and danger."
"Besides, I think there is still disagreement over what 'the task at hand' is."
I nod. "I gotta go back into town to get my stuff back from R&G anyway. Probably gonna take the bag so I can hide it. No reason I can't go with you then.">>728823
"Yeah, probably best to find out now."
Rabi shudders as he feels his mind and vision warped, pulled, and twisted well beyond what it should be. He's done Astral Projection plenty before, but it's never been anything like… this. He's only dimly aware of the fact that, whoever this is, it isn't him. He watches as his paws (paws?) flicker in and out of sight. He doesn't have long to focus on it before he feels the uncomfortable sensation spread across his body, threatening to pull him apart at the very seams. He squeezes his eyes shut and opens his mouth to scream, and when he opens them… it's gone.>>728825
Rabi is indeed floating some distance off the ground, and looks rather… distressed (It's up to you and RustRivet if you saw any of his screaming or shaking during the vision.) He shakes it off and looks to Aegis with a nod, before slowly lowering himself back down to the ground. "Well… ready?"
The horrible sensation of being pulled apart at the seams of your very existence fades in a heartbeat. You're not even sure if you just imagined it all for some reason. It's as if another's soul bled through into your body for a brief moment.>>728825
Rabi seems disturbed by something as he appears next to you, but otherwise his Astral Projection is nothing out of the ordinary.>>728828>>728825
Together, you exit the ship and make for the walls of Last Hearth, completely undetected by any of the Keepers or Observers. As you float through the paved stone streets, a blaring reminder from one of the gramophones issues a reminder that Last Hearth has a curfew from 9pm to 6am. It's likely that if the party are to move under cover of night, they will have to reach the aqueduct first without being detected.
Additionally, the north-eastern end of town, which seems to be heavily centered around fishing and ferrying downriver (giving this district its name, the Waterworks), seems to have a variety of paths leading to the top of the great aqueduct, a towering, brutalist stone structure that looms imposingly over the pointed cobble buildings. With a bit of finesse, perhaps you could find a path that will take your group up to the aqueduct undetected…>roll Navigation
"Hrm… we're going to want to take a route that'd be easily accessible on foot, or with a lot of stuff. Man, it'd be easy if we could just fly over it." the stallion remarks, floating a little further off the ground.Roll #1 9 = 9
''Master Rabi'' Aegis spoke up ''When we were at the shifting sands, you tried to Astral project, but after a few minutes, wounds started appearing on your body. You met with someone who could see and fight you in that state, yes?''
'1d10' navigationRoll #1 8 = 8
"Yeah, that's right- a Felid named Elaina. She tried to go after me then and there, but I managed to dissuade her. From what I can tell, your Astral Self can transfer injuries over to your body, so be careful if you're ever doing something like this- Elaina's not the only thing I've run into while projecting."
''What do you suggest we do if we find someone like her now?''
"Well… I think I could actually deal with it to an extent, actually. I trained with Dawn for a while on a neat little bit of Astral Magic, and I developed a version that works in reverse- or, it should. I think. I haven't tried it, but the idea is that if I met someone on the Astral Plane, could knock them back into their body. If it doesn't work, or I do it wrong, I'd say the best thing to do would be to either call it off and return- I'm not sure if someone that's Astrally Projected could be 'knocked out', so they might just keep fighting until they… you know."
''A valuable skill. I ask for fear we might have to face off against someone skilled in the astral realm'' Aegis looks down at her hooves ''I dont know if am able to cast in this state, so I might not be that helpful, if such a thing happens''
Looking around, you see a handful of paths you could take to haul the supplies up to the aqueduct:
You could take a system of iron ladders on the side of the aqueduct. It is a long, grueling path up, from the looks of things, and every so often it seems to open up onto an adjacent structure. It doesn't seem like Keepers are too active here, but traveling up several ladders hauling cargo could prove difficult, not to mention noisy.
There's also a narrow stone stairwell on the side of a building. While access is blocked to you due to your astral forms, it seems you could take this path; however, it does seem to be occupied by Keepers, though only occasionally. With some finesse, you could go this way, but you'd have to deal with a Keeper or three, and risk raising the alarm if one of them gets away.
Alternatively, there's the canals, at the very bottom. Much of the architecture of Last Hearth seems to be layered vertically, and the ensuing path is somewhat of a maze of ladders, stairs, sewers, and ramshackle wooden beams. Navigating this area looks dangerous, and those without wings would risk falling down into the lower levels. Looking over a ledge, you can see that the area seems to be shrouded in fog, making it easier to sneak about undetected; however, you can occasionally see very faint lights in the fog, implying there are other, more sinister denizens of Last Hearth in its depths.
''Perhaps our best choice will be the under parts, through the canals. Its likely no Keepers or Observers roams the area to avoid things worse than them''
Roll #1 9 = 9
"Could be, yeah. The ladders seem too hard, and too loud, and we're not sure how quickly the Keepers can communicate with each other. It'd be pretty narrow, so it's not like we could all run right after it. Maybe we ought to check what's down in the canals? I can float us in and out of it."Roll #1 10 = 10
''Good idea. Let's go then'' Aegis extended a hoof to Rabi
Rabi grabs Aegis firmly by the hoof, and floats the two of them over to the canals, and starts to descend. "I've got no clue what might be down here, honestly. Whatever's down here won't be aware of us, barring something particularly bizarre."
You pick your way down into the canals. Though your sense of smell is dulled in this form, you can still make out a foul, unrelenting stench of sewage, blood and rot. The fog makes it difficult to see more than a few inches ahead of you at a time.
You soon see the source of the lights you saw from above; bizarre constructs are on patrol here, crawling on the walls of the canals, well equipped to traverse the vertical maze. They resemble giant beetles made of wood and metal, with their heads replaced with a blinding floodlight. They seem to travel alone, or occasionally in twos. They don't seem to be able to fight back if engaged. Their purpose is entirely unknown for now.
You are also aware of a faint sound of hissing machinery coming from somewhere to the southwest, as of a giant, underground factory. After a bit of observation, you realize that the fog that covers the canals seems to be emanating from this mysterious source, as are the beetles, presumably.
It doesn't take long to secure a long-winded, but fairly secure path to the aqueduct. You get a little turned around in the fog, but after what feels like forever, you manage to clamber up a set of stairs and to the top of the aqueduct.
You have a great view of the landscape from here; Last Hearth is completely circular in shape, barring the far eastern districts which seem to extend into the mountain the town is nestled in the shadow of. Great walls divide the town like spokes on a wheel, leading towards the ominous, cathedral like building at its center, the head of command known as the Parliament House. You can see black smoke belching from one of its spires, for some unknown purpose.
A quick assessment reveals that the aqueduct is divided into three levels:
The topmost level is the most heavily guarded, but also the most open. Traveling it would give you a clear, straight shot at the mountain beyond.
The middle level is moderately guarded, but seems complex to navigate, having several gates and intersecting paths throughout, which culminate in a structure where the mountain is. This structure's purpose is unknown.
The lowest level, where you are now, is much like the canals, guarded little but shrouded in fog, and patrolled by the beetle constructs. The same structure that the middle level leads to extends downwards, having a second floor accessible from this lower level. It seems that if you were to take either of these two, you'd have to enter the structure to access the mountainside.
''Doesnt seem like we will have trouble with the Guards if we take the bottom path, but those beetle-like machine worry me. I didnt see any weapons but they didnt seemed to besearching for anything… They might be some kind of patrol as well''
Aegis takes a moment to observe the top rows ''On the other hoof, if we make a mad dash through the guards on the top level, we might be able to escape. The middle level is complex and takes too long to traverse and has a considerable guard, so I think that one can be written off as an option''
She glances back to the stallion ''What do you think, Master Rabi?''
"So, it looks like we're going to have something to deal with no matter which way we go. I've got no idea what these beetles even do, though… at least they don't look hard to deal with, and aren't in big groups. We'll probably want to be careful if we go down too far- it might contaminate anything we drop, from how it smells." the stallion says, grimacing.
"Hrm… I'd say the bottom path, I think. As much as the top path might be the straightest, we'd need to be careful not to lose supplies. Maybe we follow alongside them for a little, and then we can offer both to the whole group?"
''We should inform everyone of all possibilities ahead of time so we can make a proper plan'' Aegis says, turning back to fully face Rabi
''That was a good observation, however. I think the bottom path might end up being the most viable from what we gathered so far, but just to be sure, we should give it a through look. I want to observe these beetles a bit more and see if we can find the source of this mist''
"Good thinking, Aegis- might as well see if the bugs are the only thing down there, yeah?" he says, leading them own further, and along the canal.
Roll #1 1 = 1
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
You start following the source of the sound of machinery, doubling back and moving down into the canals. The smell starts to get stronger, and the sounds louder. It's starting to reach the point where it seems to be coming from everywhere.
You get turned around more than once as you explore. Grimly, you see several corpses in the waters of the canal, half submerged in the sludge and seeming having been dismembered. Not by some beast, from the looks of things. The cuts look too clean for that. On one occasion, you see such a corpse being investigated by tw of the beetle constructs, grabbing the remains and dragging them out of the canal. The constructs then rear up, and, to your surprise, a gout of flame bursts from their undersides, beginning to incinerate the corpse. It seems it's their duty to cremate remains.
You keep searching for the source of the machinery sound. It gets to the point where you seem to have found it, though what you witness doesn't seem to line up; you're at the center of town now, beneath where the Parliament House would be. You are facing one of several thick, iron doors, marked with the same rune you saw on the main town gate. Three Keepers stand guard at the door, blocking entrance. On the brick walls are mounted tiny iron grates, from which seeps the fog that blankets the canals. The sound of machinery is loudest here, and seems to be coming both from behind the door and from beneath your hooves. There doesn't seem to be a way in for you, though, given you are in astral form.
You notice that there are more Cremators than usual around here. One of them seems to pause in front of one of the Keepers, exchanging information with it via a series of coded flashes of light from its lantern head.
"Well… this is rather unsettling. With all the corpses, and the stench, it might be better to risk a higher passage than try for this one- especially if you have to pass by here."
Aegis takes a moment to examine the place
''Its odd that we ended up here, considering the path we took. Maybe the mist made us lose our way'' Aegis walked past Rabi, and began to walk back, but stopped and glanced back at him ''Should we return and report to the others? There is nothing for us here''
"Maybe, yeah- perhaps we try to look through here a little better, to find a nicer route? Through the bottom here, that is."
''It will be hard with all the mist, but I suppose if that's your wish, it wont really hurt to try. Lets go''
'1d10'Roll #1 5 = 5
[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
You press on. With a bit of searching, you find a path that would take you well away from the entrances to this strange underground factory; however, it is precarious, leading you across a set of narrow, rotting wooden planks, exiting into an alley on the surface with a set of empty animal cages strewn about carelessly. This path is no threat to you in this state, but in your physical form it would prove much harder, especially if weighed down by cargo."Attention citizens."
One of the public announcements begins to blare. "Please remember that the curfew will be in effect in approximately one hour. Please begin to return to your homes. Malcompliance is punishable by one week in a Condemned zone."
"Yeah… this isn't looking particularly good. We might need to take a different route."
Aegis's ears perked up at the announcement, and she turned to Rabi ''Indeed, this is too dangerous of a path to take. let's look for a few minutes longer and then return to the ship''
Aegis took the lead, searching for a different path
'1d10'Roll #1 6 = 6
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
It seems that any way you slice it, navigating the canals isn't going to be easy. However, after following a less beaten path past an abandoned, eerie looking house, you find a set of stairs that leads into the canals. Through this section of the area are a set of four distinctive stone bridges, which take you on another path through the canals that seems more out of the way than others. You barely see any Cremators around here, and eventually, the path loops around and up another flight of stairs to the aqueduct. It seems quite safe, for now. There's still the issue of which path to take through the aqueduct itself, but for now, it seems you've managed to secure relatively safe passage through the canals, away from prying eyes.
''This…'' Aegis appraises the area for a second ''Seems promising. Shall we head back and report what we found?''
"Yeah, this is worth reporting back on. Good job, Aegis." the stallion says, smiling a little.
She simply nodded, emotionless, and began to return her counciousness to her body
You close your eyes and focus, feeling your souls traveling through the astral plane as you return to your physical forms. When you open them again, you are back in your bodies, back on board Fate's Fortune
with your companions.>>728826
"Well," Marisol points out, "first things first we have to restock on supplies. And to do that we have to figure out our plan, involving this waif Silver and Aegis ran into. Speaking of which…">>728823
"Miss Song," Marisol asks, "who is this benefactor you and Miss Glaze encountered? The one that will give us our supplies. She wants transport, right? Do you know her name?">>728827
"I'll come with you," Violet chimes in. "I haven't gotten the lay of the land yet. Don't really know what we're up against. I reckon I might be able to find some good paths if I do."
Dawn looks to the silent elk. "Etrigan?" she asks. "…..He says he will remain behind, for now. To help with the ship." Another pause. Dawn seems a bit surprised by what he's said, but nods. "Suppose there's no sense in delaying, then," she says to you, and rises to her hooves, picking up her walking stick. "Ready when you are.">>728818>>728827>>728823>>728826>>729037
After quite some time, Rabi and Aegis return to the physical plane. When they do so, however, a set of deep cuts open on Rabi's face, like fierce claw marks simply bursting into existence. Those who were present during the skirmish at the Hive would notice that they line up with the injuries he received while Projecting at that time. These marks do not seem to bleed, but rather glow a pale yellowish white as they burst open before slowly fading into dark scars across his face. Etrigan looks intimidated, while Marisol looks deeply disturbed. Violet does a bit of a double take, appearing worried about his safety. Dawn is completely oblivious.>>729036
As you return, you feel a faint stinging ache across your face, like an old wound returning. The others seem disturbed by something about you…
"R-Rabi?" Violet asks. "Are… are you okay? Your face…"
Rabi shakes his head and groans a little as he wakes back up in his body, and rubs at the aching parts of his face. He re-focuses his eyes and looks at the rest of the group staring at him in worry. "I'm… I don't know, really. Is something wrong with my face? What's there?"
''It was glowing'' Aegis states as she fixed her mane ''Your scar, specifically. Has this happened before?''
"It hasn't, no. I'd thought those had healed up, but I guess…" he lets out a nervous sigh, before saying "I guess that sorta seals it, then. I'm not sure how, but I think I've been… connected. Linked, somehow, to Elaina."
Zunden looks to Rabi with worry, "I do not know if zhiz iz a wound I can heal, if it iz damage to your zoul. It lookz az if you have opened an old wound, az one would wizh a zcab. Did anyzhing zimilar happen in training?
I knit my brow. "Oh, we're going today?" I shrug. "Well, alright. Guess it couldn't hurt to go ahead and get it out of the way."
I reflexively take a step back as I see Rabi's face. "Is that from- Is that from before? Are you okay?"
"For now? Yeah, probably. I'm just concerned what happends from here on out.">>729186>>729185
"Elaina. The Felid working with Lysander. She's the one I bumped into on the Astral Plane during the fight at the hive. She scratched across my face then, so this is almost like some sort of… odd re-scarring from that. Linked to her would make the most sense- not that this makes any sense to me, really. When I shifted out of my body this time around, it wasn't like before. For a little, I was… somewhere else, or sometime else, or something. I think I was seeing a piece of her life, through her eyes. She was trying some sort of spell or ritual, and it went really wrong. It tore her in-between two planes of existence, I think."
"Lilura, yes, her and her brother were preparing to leave the city, though the latter was captured by the keepers and moved to the condemned zone. She was more than happy to part with the supplies and interested in our assisting her."
"I could try to invoke Zeveranze to break ze connection, but I am ztill learning runez, I do not know if it'd be dangerouz. Haz it zeriouzly harmed you or debilitated you?
"What in the world happened to you!?" Hermodur asks with shock and concern.
After replying to Marisol's question, i turn to notice Rabi's wound, rushing to him wide-eyed and panicked.
"Rabi! Are you alright?! Do you need Zunden's healing?"
Violet doesn't respond, looking at you with worry.>>729184
"My sister?" Marisol says in disbelief. Dawn looks over with curiosity. "A link between you two through the astral plane? How fascinating. Why, I can't say I've ever heard of such a thing.">>729188
"Or tomorrow," Dawn shrugs. "I suppose it depends on when we wish to put this plan of ours into action.">>729189
"She wasn't trying. You can thank Grosvenor for that," Marisol says bitterly. "She used my sister as a guinea pig for her experiments with sigils. I don't know if it was the intended effect, but… well, you've seen what she is now. Grosvenor wanted to make her the perfect assassin for her needs. She succeeded. My sister is enthralled to her now. Bound to her. If she ever disobeys her, or betrays her, or even displeases her… she dies. Just like that." She looks down at the ground broodingly. >>729190
Marisol nods. "I see. So our task will be ever harder for it. I only hope these supplies are worth this twofold burden…">>729190>>729189>>729188>>729186>>729183>>729192
Dawn seems about to launch into bombarding Rabi with questions about his experience, but Marisol speaks up again. "This bodes ill," she says, referring to Rabi. "If you are connected to her, she might be connected to you. Which means, over time, you could find where she is… and vice versa." Violet and Etrigan look concerned over the idea of Rabi being turned into a walking camera for the enemy.
Violet speaks up again, looking to Aegis and Rabi. "So, um… did you find anything on your search? There has to be a path we can take, right?" She looks a bit antsy.
"I don't think we should jump to any conclusions yet. We don't know if the effect works both ways," Hermodur says as he sits down and crosses his arms.
"Besides, unless we intend to just abandon Rabi, there's not much we can do about it."
"No, today is fine. Just didn't expect it. Let me get dressed first."
I glance between Rabi and Marisol and shift uncomfortably. "Do you think that'll be a problem? Should we think about that before actually hiding the egg?"
''Hmm… Perhaps something happened when you two faced off in astral form. Having both your souls clashing must have left a mark that went beyond your body'' Aegis pointed a hoof at Rabi ''She branded your very being with her own, Master Rabi''>>729194
''We found a path. It took us a while, but we chosen a route that we believe will be the least dangerous'' Aegis tells Violet, then turns to Marisol
''So, what would happen if Grosvenor died? Would that break the bond with your sister?''
"Az I have zaid, I could attempt invoking zeveranze, but I would like to at leazt be zure it would be zafe for Rabi before attempting a ritual. I may zend a mezzage to Black Pudding inquiring to him on ze matter.
"Concerning indeed.. As zunden said, it may be best to speak with Black Pudding about this connection, and perhaps refrain from casting the spell until we've learned more.."
"I'm not fully sure, but it's tied to my Astral Form… and now, in a way, to my physical form." he gestures to his snout. >>729191>>729192
"That's sort of what concerns me. The vision I got of what happened to her was… horrible. I don't think I could begin to describe what it felt like, to be torn apart like that. I know it's affected me- the scarring on my face, for instance- but, it's changed other things. I can float while I'm Projecting, for starters, which isn't normal from what Dawn explained. And the visions, and… this. I'll try to keep everyone informed, in case anything else changes. I wouldn't want you to force yourself too hard, especially with this new 'Severance' rune.">>729193
Rabi strokes Silver's cheek a little, and nuzzles against her snout. "I'll be alright, Silvy. I promise. I'm sorry to worry you.">>729194>>729198
"I'm not really fully sure what to make of it- I'll keep you informed of any other visions I get. Maybe they'll be… I don't know, maybe I'll see something important. The link might go both ways, so I'm not sure what she could see." he says, before looking to Aegis, and nodding. "I think you're right- we traded blows for a little while, so maybe some sort of… bleed-over happened. That's the most I can think of for now.">>729199>>729200
"Waiting is probably for the best. Like I said, I don't know what kind of connection this is. Severing it now could potentially hurt either of us, or both of us. Hopefully Black Pudding'll have a better idea."
"Right, in terms of what we set out to do- well, we've got a few options. We've ruled out a couple already, and decided the best option would be… the canals. There's three routes; the uppermost is the most guarded, but it'd be a straight shot. The second one is lower down, and still somewhat guarded, though not as heavily. The last one isn't guarded, save for some mechanical beetles that look to be on body collection… I think. They're not armed, and do't look capable of hurting someone. The lowest level is pretty foul and maze-like, to boot. Both the middle and lowest routes would require a bit of climbing at the end, I think."
"Mozt importantly, do you plan to go wizh ze crew planning to hide away ze egg? It already zoundz az if zome are ztaying behind, az not to burden zhemzelvez wizh ze knowledge.
"Well, it didn't happen again until now, so maybe it's tied to Projecting? Think we should limit it?"
''I hope you are right. Or else we will have to consider continuing the journey to store away the egg without you''
"Should I stay behind? I'm not sure what kind of stuff could be shown through this connection if it is
He looks to Norv, and nods a little bit. "Yeah, it only just happened when I projected. As handy as it is, I might need to limit how often I do it… though, it might start with less-recent stuff first."
"Perhapz you and zomne ozherz could zeek out Black Pudding wizh ze Compazz while zome of uz hide ze Egg. Zhat way, you can learn more about your condition and perhapz azk him wayz to wipe one'z memory, zo zhat you may inform uz when we return."
"Communication is key in these sorts of situations," Hermodur advises. "More heads are better than fewer. Just inform us of anything seems even slightly relevant.">>729199
"Are you sure Black Pudding would make the situation BETTER?"
"True," Dawn nods. "Though if this signal works one way, it could hypothetically work the other. Perhaps further testing is required…" She seems eager at the prospect of experimenting with unknown magic.
"If it doesn't," Violet points out, "we can use it to our advantage, to avoid wherever they are. This could be big for us.">>729200>>729199
Violet still looks a bit sour at the notion of dealing with Black Pudding. "How would you contact the likes of him?" Marisol asks with a frown. "He's not the type you speak to unless he wishes it. And he could be anywhere in the Echoes.">>729197
"I think we ought to know more before we decide what to do about it," says Marisol. "Only time will tell, I suppose.">>729201
"A bleed through effect would make the most sense," Dawn nods, rubbing her chin. "Perhaps >>729198>>729202
Violet nods and smiles under her mask. "Good, good! We have a clear shot at this then." "Fingers crossed it'll pay off," Marisol chimes in with an approving nod. "Fine work, you two.">>729202>>729203>>729200>>729196>>729195>>729198
Marisol speaks up, weighing the options Rabi presented. "It sounds like the lowest level would be our best chance. I'd rather risk some filth and creatures than stirring up the Keepers. Though, it could be harmful for the cargo, come to think of it. If our supplies get ruined, this whole venture is for naught."
Violet gives her two cents. "If the middle section isn't too guarded, maybe we could sneak through under cover of night? I'd rather not have to fight our way out, especially not with a bunch of supplies on us. And Marisol's right about risking damage to the cargo, too…"
"If we manage to find a hiding spot on the upper level," Dawn points out, "it'd be much easier for me to open a Door to the ship. I'd offer to open one from the get go, but the recent experiments have taken a lot out of me. I don't know what would happen if I tried using them at too great a distance." She looks over to Etrigan. "…He says he'd rather brave the lower levels. If we do that, I don't know if I'll be able to help with Doors much. But perhaps it's safer in the long run, if there really aren't any Keepers down there."
Violet looks to Purdue on Norv's belt, as if asking for his opinion, only to be met with a soft snore. The skull is fast asleep.
"By themselves the Keepers aren't that hard to fight," I add. "You just gotta unwind 'em. I doubt there would only be a few, though. I still say we check out some of the out-of-the-way areas and give Dawn a couple'a days to recharge. If we could port outta there it'd save us a lotta trouble. I know there was this one house I found that was condemned. That could be an option as long as we don't go too deep. It's right in town and didn't look like any observers or keepers ever went in." I run my hand across the top of my head. "But yeah, if we don't do that we're probably best off sneaking around. I have six doses of the vanishing powder, so that would help." I knit my brow. "I wanna keep some of it, but I don't mind using some to help. Anyway, that'd get us pretty far on its own even if it wasn't enough to get us completely out. I think I'd rather risk the first or second level. I don't really like the idea of fighting who knows what."
''Having smaller ranks will be a disatvantage to be considered'' Aegis mentions>>729209
Aegis turns to Violet and Marisol ''He could be anywhere, but there is a way that he could be found. Lilura had one of the enchanted compasses that lead to what you want''
''What do you mean for naught? Wasnt fulfilling Lilura's wish much more important than getting the supplies to the ship?'' Aegis speaks up, but it was impossible to tell if she was being sarcastic or not>>729210
''Perhaps we could traverse the middle levels divided in two parties. One goes in front and silently dispatches of the Keepers and observers in the way before the others follow along. The first party could be Silver and you with your vanishing powder''
"A bleed through effect would make the most sense," Dawn nods, rubbing her chin. "Perhaps if I had access to more knowledge of the Astral Plane, we could find answers… It's curious that you're accessing Elaina's memories. I wonder if she'll experience yours in turn."
"Ah, but perhaps the compass will help us find him! Provided he hasn't invoked a severance rune himself, we could do as Zunden mentioned and dispatch a few of us to speak with him, with the compass as guide."
"As for the route through the Aqueducts.. Perhaps the middle option may be the better choice. A hooffull of keepers to avoid would be preferable to a cargo potentially falling into the muck.."
"What of the carpet we have on hoof? I suppose if we find a tarp of some sort and drape it over the carpet, we could keep it as clean as we can down there.">>729210
"Certainly an option, though the longer we stay here the greater the odds of our plans being revealed."
"We have zpoke zinze you have left, and enchanted ze zhip wizh a rune zhat preventz zcrying on it and it'z inhabitantz. Ze warlock iz well verzed in many topicz, and az long az he iz treated wizh rezpect, he offerz ze zame.
Rabi rubs at his neck a little from the compliment, before saying "I'm just glad we managed to find a good route. I was a little worried there wouldn't be one worth taking, at first… anywho. That bottom route was pretty foul, and I mean it; the scent strong enough to leak through on to the astral plane, which probably means it was pretty significant. With corpses down there, we've got no clue what kind of nasty stuff's festering down there. The door idea Dawn suggested sounds pretty good, provided we give her some time to recharge. Failing that, sneaking through like Violet could be good, if we need to be hasty.">>729209
"Is there a way to even test this stuff? Maybe, I don't know… can you try to feel out some form of seepage, or taint on me?" he suggests, before frowning a little in thought.>>729213>>729207
"That could be pretty good, actually. As long as I only have to wipe the egg-related stuff from my mind. I'd rather not forget a lot of the other stuff, like you guys."
"Henze why I'd offer to allow you to travel to zeek out Black Pudding wizh zome ozherz while ze Egg iz being hidden. You will have no information needed to be removed, but you'll be helping zhoze zhat will need it. While zhere, you could zee if he haz knowledge of ze zpirit form, and pozzibly your connection.
Rabi manages a bit of a chuckle, and offers a nervous smile. "H-Hey, it's not like they could make it too much worse either, right?">>729212
"I wish I knew more about it, too- despite how much I do it, I've just sort of been feeling it out. Maybe, hurting each other in the astral plane sort of… smeared a bit of our minds on each other. Instead of blood, it's memories?">>729216
"As long as you'd be okay if we split up- I'd hate for you guys to get hurt while me and anyone else that came with me was gone…"
"Ideally, I plan to travel to a location no one elze dare travel. Our greatezt enemy will be ze location, not our antagoniztz."
"Unwind?" Violet parrots, blinking in slight confusion. "What's that mean?">>729211
"The supplies are our priority," Marisol answers. "We can't risk damage to them. Otherwise, our plans will be for nothing, and we'll be at square one again. Harsh as it may sound, this Lilura person isn't our primary goal.">>729213>>729211>>729207
Marisol blinks. It doesn't seem it had occurred to her to use the compass. "Hm. Perhaps a parting of ways would be in order, then… Though, we should decide on where we'll take the Egg before we get to that. First things first, though. Retrieving supplies." She clears her throat, clearly trying to save face. "Maybe we could move in two groups, like Miss Glaze suggested. It could throw the Keepers off our scent, and lighten the load for both groups.">>729215
"Well that sounds lovely," Marisol comments dryly. "I think it might be worth it if we do as Silver said and use the carpet to protect the supplies. Maybe we should wait a few days, and Dawn will be able to transport us more effectively. We could bypass much of this planning in general if so." Dawn nods. "I'd be happy to do what I can, after a bit of time to convalesce.">>729217
"Perhaps," Dawn nods. "Or perhaps it's something deeper than that. I only hope the connection doesn't go too deep. The last thing we need is Lysander's allies spying on us."
"They could get the egg and destroy the world," Hermodur deadpans.>>729214
"Can we afford another detour, though?">>729219
"Do we really need to split up just to find supplies?"
"Hmm.. A diversionary tactic to hold the keepers' attention, perhaps. Our larger group makes a ruckus of sorts on, say, the top level, while a smaller group leaves through the middle level uncontested. We load the items on, then Zunden will fly the ship low enough to jump on for our escape."
"..of course, waiting for Dawn to rest may prove a simpler choice. Far less likely to injure ourselves that way."
"Yeah, it's real pleasant. Especially with the bugs delivering them to be… cremated, I think." he says, shivering a little. "The carpet could probably help, as long as everyone's able to find a way to plug their sense of smell, too."
''That is exactly what I said before, but the others seem to disagree''
''No, we cannot decide where the egg is taken now, or else the knowledge will be free to be taken from the minds of the group that leaves the ship''
"Henze zplitting ze group to do bozh at ze zame time. Having lezz people aboard ze zhip az we hide ze egg meanz lezz witnezzez to ze egg'z final hiding plaze. Even better, it may take ze trail off of ze zhip if it iz known memberz of our group are traveling a different direction.
"Az I have zaid and now Aegiz haz repeated, we zhould not dezide until we are already leaving. A leak in information would doom uz.
Zunden says, looking out in the direction of the town, "Az for ze mizzion, a zplit could work. I will be remaining aboard ze zhip for eaze of getaway, of courze.
"Oh, yeah, I guess I should actually tell you guys what I learned about them. So the armor is, like, grafted onto them. They're basically mummies and run on some kind of clockwork or something. They wind themselves up, but if you can manage to actually get to the key you can unwind it. Also they have these really loud horns, kind of like alarms or something."
"That's… unsettling. I'd hoped they were just animated armor, not some sort of mummy."
''Is it decided then?'' Aegis looks at everyone after Zunden's speech>>729225
''Then that makes it so that sneaking through them and deactivating them even more important. If you and Silver will be tasked with unwinding them, then you need to ensure you do it swiftly before they can raise the alarm''
I shake my head. "I actually probably woulda made it into the parlement building if I didn't pull its key out. That's one of the things that triggers the alarm, but they can do it on their own too."
"Did you happen to notice where the keys are on them? We may be able to dispatch them easier if so."
"It was just on his chest. Somewhere around-" I tap the area opposite my heart. "Around here."
"Hmm.. It would be a risk, rushing into whatever they deploy head-on, but a strike there may be enough to finish the fight instantly."
"The alarm they raise is an issue, though i suppose if the goal was to cause a distraction that would certainly do it."
"Not find," Violet points out. "Carry. We know where the supplies are. But one group carrying a ton of boxes and what have you could stick out like a sore thumb. If we do it in two groups, one taken the less beaten path, it'll be easier to smuggle them out without the Keepers getting on our cases. Don't you think?">>729221
Marisol agrees. "A distraction could work. Maybe if we have some form of causing a loud noise or explosion without actually being there, we could even draw out the Keepers on both levels…"
"Perhaps we shouldn't wait too long," Dawn points out. "This Lilura person will be waiting for a reply from us, and food is starting to run low on the ship.">>729222
"Cremated?" Violet looks disturbed. "Is the death toll that high that they need special units just to burn the bodies periodically?" She shudders.>>729224
"We should at least find some proper options for the Egg's hiding place," Marisol points out. "Via a map or someone who's better traveled than us."
Violet speaks up. "I know a few places we could take it. But Zunden's right. Better to leave that for later."
You continue to pilot the ship, flying all the way around the exterior wall of Last Hearth and towards the towering, craggy mountain behind it. The terrain is mostly grassy, with thick, dense trees covering its many peaks. It is big enough that it would take a few days to fly over just the one mountain, essentially being its own region. You manage to find a spot to land overlooking Last Hearth. The aqueduct that stands over the nameless river flowing into the town is visible from here.>>729225
Marisol's lip curls in disgust. "More experiments. At least they don't use living subjects. Though I doubt the wretches get a swift death."
"In that case," Violet muses, "we'll have to be extra careful when tackling them. We take them down quickly and quietly or we'll have hell to pay."
"Yeah. Some of them carry poison dart guns, too, so that's something to watch out for."
"Yeah, I suppose it's decided." he says, offering a short nod. He looks to Violet, and shrugs a little. "No clue. But… it was pretty bad down there."
"Yeah, that's my thinking. This can either go by really smooth or go to hell. There isn't much of an inbetween."
"Well, I volunteer for carrying things," Hermodur offers.
"I'm not really good for much else here anyway."
"Hmm.. perhaps once Dawn has rested, we could simply maneuver the ship over the city and open a door as it passes overhead? So long as we're fast and Dawn can hold the spell, we could jump aboard through the door without even stopping long enough for a keeper reaction."
"You think they have any anti-air weapons? Seems like it'd be something you'd plan for when airships are pretty common."
"As far as we've seen, the only aerial threat would be those watchers floating about, and they hardly seem a threat for an airship."
"Yes, perhaps it's for the best to wait until dawn is ready, split the supplies and make our way through the middle route."
"I would zay zhe zhould have more zhan a day to heal, at leazt. What of juzt lining ze zhip up wizh ze zide of ze aqueduct, and climbing aboard from zhere?
save us having to traverse the length of it to reach you.. Provided the watchers aren't armed with something to bring down our ship."
"I suppose we could spend the time letting Dawn rest to check for just such a situation."
You continue to discuss your plans well into the night, going over the minutiae of your plan, taking notes of what will happen where, and making sure everything will be in its right place. At one point, Etrigan takes a break to make tea for those who want it, while later in the evening, Purdue wakes up and politely asks to be retired to his own quarters. The hours roll by, and by the time you're starting to finalize something, you're starting to feel bleary eyed and light headed.
Dawn takes another sip of tea as Marisol stifles a yawn. "Alright," says Violet, rubbing her eyes, "let's go over this one more time so we're all on the same page, then call it a night:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtwT8HmWudU
"So tomorrow night, before the 9pm curfew, Norv, Silver, Hermodur, Dawn, Aegis, Purdue, Rabi and I go with the floating carpet to this Lilura girl's house, trying to avoid raising suspicion. Meanwhile, Marisol, Etrigan and Zunden take the ship and head up into the mountains where they won't spot it." Marisol nods in silent approval.
"While the curfew is happening, we load up the goods on the carpet as discreetly as we can, waiting for their usual patrols to blow over. Then, we sneak out, head down to the lower levels of the city, and traverse the canals, hopefully without raising an alarm. Once we get to the lowest level of the aqueduct, we signal Zunden via Harbinger to blow a hole in the wall - without damaging the goods, that is - then hop through, board the ship through the breach and hightail it before the Keepers come down on us like an avalanche. If things go south, Dawn will try to open a door to get us out of there quicker."
"Sound good? Or did I miss something?"
"I… think that's it, yeah. It's a shame we won't really be able to come back here, though."
''Would you really want to come back here either way? There is hardly anything of interest in this place''
"Well, it's certainly not the most elegant of solutions but it is
the most efficient."
"I would assume we will make our way to Lilura separately? The watchers become quite active following a group of three, i'd imagine seven of us together would bring the whole city to alert."
I sigh and slouch in my chair. Guess we're getting out of here too soon for me to do anything about the slaves. What did I even expect? To topple an entire damn city? I shake my head. "Guess not. Just point and I'll do what I can. I do want to stop in early and try to see if I can't get my stuff back from R&G. Hope they got a chance to air out some."
"Zhere are zhoze of uz who did not identify ourzelvez, it iz only a matter of zending zhoze zhey have not identified az pazzengerz of ze zhip into town zhould we return.
" She pauses, "Bezidez… by ze zound of it, ze town doez not zound like ze mozt pleazant of plazez to return to.
''That is true. We will have to travel at most in pairs if we're to avoid catching their attention''
Hermodur nods. "Understood."
He looks to the sullen-looking Norv, and puts a hand on his shoulder. "I think I understand how you feel. And, I just want to say I support you."
My ears fold back and my eyes fall to the ground. "Thanks," I say. "Just wish I coulda done more, y'know? In two weeks- in two weeks they'll all be dead. Or worse."
"It's as I said before. Failures are a result of our own weakness. We may not be able to accomplish what we want right now. But, we can still strive to do better in the future."
"I thought I was doing better. You haven't really been around to see it but I- I'd like to think I've gotten a lot stronger."
Violet and Marisol both seem to share your disappointment in not being able to help. "…They're… they're going to murder hundreds," Marisol says with a stony expression. "Captive slaves from all over the Echoes, hunted for sport by a cabal of masked degenerates, their corpses used for their horrific experiments… It's unconscionable.
Violet nods sadly. "If we can help them, we should. It doesn't sit right with me letting this happen. When you… when you have the resources we do… and you see bad things happening, and you just watch… they happen because of you."
Dawn seems to agree, but looks resolute. "We have a job to do. What's going to happen here is horrific. But millions more will die if we fail in our mission…">>729654
"We should try and avoid being detected wherever possible," Dawn agrees. "If they are suspicious of us before then, they'll almost certainly have a bead on us when we leave." "The last thing we need is an Observer tailing us the whole way," Marisol agrees. "That applies to the ship too.">>729652>>729654>>729653>>729655>>729656
"Guess it's decided then," Violet nods. "We'll go in small groups to avoid the Observers to get to Lilura's, then carry out the plan from there. I think it'll go smoothly, as long as we time the escape just right."
"Now, let's get some rest. Big day tomorrow."
Much of the following day is spent making preparations. Dawn and Violet take time to explore the town a bit during the day so they can get their bearings. Norv returns to retrieve his freshly cleaned gear, paying off his debt in the process.
Night falls. The plan begins.>>729658>>729657>>729655>>729654>>729652
Violet and Dawn accompany you both into the city as the sun begins to set. As you approach, you split up into two groups: Norv, Purdue, Violet, Aegis and Hermodur are in one, while Dawn, Rabi and Silver are in the other. >roll Navigation >>729656
You are on the upper deck, and watch as the group depart. Etrigan and Marisol flank you, looking concerned about what's to come. "Do you think this will work?" Marisol asks softly.
"Considering how you were when I first met you, I don't doubt it," Hermodur chuckles.
"But, strength comes from more than just muscles. And, in this case, our greatest weakness and failure comes from the fact that we currently have another goal."
"Yeah, I know how you feel. There's so much nasty stuff out here, and knowing we can't really do anything about it… it's rough.">>729662
"Right. Smaller groups make sense- let's hope we all make it there well enough."
[1d10] NavigationRoll #1 6 = 6
[1d10] navigationRoll #1 8 = 8
Heading through the gates, i try to retrace my steps through the streets to the alley Lilura used earlier yesterday.
[1d10] NavigationRoll #1 7 = 7
''Dawn speaks the truth'' Aegis comfirms with no guilt in her voice ''If we dont focus on the Egg, all we know will cease to exist. Once we finish our task, you can return and anhihilate the elite of this place and free the people''
'1d10' navigationRoll #1 5 = 5
"Zhat iz a good queztion.
" Zunden sits cross-legged, pulling out her tarot deck and drawing from it.
>Once a Day to get an idea of how this night might end up.
I nod. "Yeah… I guess. It just seems like there could be more we could do, y'know?" I stand up and shake my head. "I don't know. I have to go do some things. If anyone needs me I'll be in my room."
Over the night I take a little time to do a little fiddling around. First, I remove the clockwork and wood bits and empty them into my bag. Then I take enough gunpowder to fill the sphere and mix it with oil to turn it from a powder into a paste. I pull a wick from one of the candles, strip some of the wax, coat it in a little of the paste to make a fuse, and, if I have to, drill a tiny hole in the top of the sphere to slide it in. If I can't bring my sprayer or my rats and my dart gun is useless I want at least some
backup. I just hope I don't kill myself in the process.
In the morning I ask Aegis for the robe she got from those traders before going in to meet with R&G.>>729662
I'm quiet the whole way to the dog's place.
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
''Why have you brought him along?'' Aegis asks, pointing a hoof at Purdue
I glare at her. "Why did you come along?
''I'm leading you to Lilura's house'' She aswers plainly
"Alright. Yeah. Dumb question. He's here because he wanted to come and didn't want to be trapped in a single room all day every day."
''I see. Then please keep him quiet''
"You're the one talking."
"The world is a hungry place," Dawn agrees, looking somber. "It breaks my heart that we can't save these ones from being swallowed by it. It really does. But you know what's at stake.">>729669
"Norv…" You can feel Violet watching you leave with great concern.
You fiddle with the clockwork orange and start tinkering, eventually making some sort of makeshift explosive. It looks a little unstable, but it should be enough to cause some mayhem if need be.>>729670>>729674"I can watch your back, lass,"
he points out. "Quite literally! If you'd rather not have me around, I'm happy to stay behind. Not like I can do much to stop you. And don't worry, I'll stay quiet if I have to. I'm not half the horse I used to be, you know. At least from what Norv's told me.">>729671>>729672
Violet looks very uncomfortable as you start to bicker. "Can… can we just focus on the job?…">>729664>>729665>>729666>>729667>>729669
You enter Last Hearth one group at a time. You immediately notice Rosen and Gilder are gone, having presumably departed earlier. Even traveling in smaller groups, it is unavoidable to be spotted by one of the many Observers flying through the city streets.
Eventually, you reach her house, reconvening outside the gate. It's a run down looking place, with a few boarded up windows, a dead garden, a crumbling roof, and many rotting boards lining the walls. Overall, if you didn't know someone lived here, you'd assume it was abandoned.
You notice the front door is slightly ajar. There's no sign of Lilura, wherever she may be.>>729668
Marisol and Etrigan watch curiously as you read the cards. Things don't bode well - unexpected developments, a great trial, exertions pushed to their limits, and… separation. Something being lost. Severance.
''We can talk openly, for now''
I shoot Violet an apogetic frown. "Yeah. Sorry," I say. "Just- I'm just really on edge. A lot on my mind, y'know?"
I pat Purdue on the head. "You're fine, buddy," I say. "Having you watching my back is a big help on its own."
I look around. "You guys sure this is the right place?"
"I suppose the most we could do is try to help others down the line… to make up for it or something, yeah?" the stallion says, with a short shrug.>>729676
Rabi frowns a little when he spots the run-down house with an open door, and tries to look around for any sign of Lilura. Did she get… held up a little, I guess?"
Aegis nods ''I am aware of your change, I just want to ensure our success. There is a lot at stake in this operation''
''I am focused'' she affirms
Once at Lilura's house, Aegis looks around for a moment before letting herself in, heading to the supplies>>729678>>729679
''I'm sure she will show herself eventually. Let's begin packing the supplies while we wait for her''
Approaching the house and noticing the open door, i approach with a degree of caution.
"Lilura? Are you home?">>729678
"This was where Lilura met us earlier.. Perhaps she left for the market?"
"Indeed, it shouldn't matter if she's here. We're just taking supplies anyway."
Hermodur goes in through the ajar door.
"Right. Saves time if we get started now." the stallion says, starting to carefully pack supplies away.
"Yeah, I guess that's a good idea." I move to find the supplies and start packing them.
Zunden scowls as the card is revealed, a major arcana in it's reverse position. The card depicts a circular rune in the sky, a blue-scaled dragon sitting on the top and a robed, red tegu saurian upside down on the bottom.
"Ze Wheel of Fortune in it'z reverze pozition. No matter the courze of action we take, zhere will be a complication.. zome zort of unexzpected twizt. We have little control on what might occur, zo we have to inztead prepare for ze worzt. We are in plaze to loze zomezhing, wezher zomezhing phyzical like ze zuppliez, or a conzept like a lozz of control.
She sighs, looking out to those leaving for the city, "It'z not we could avoid, zo we will have to weazher ze ztorm az zhey zay.
>>729678"I'm just grateful to be able to see the world,"
he answers cheerily. "It does get dull being cooped up all the time.">>729678>>729679>>729680>>729681>>729682
You find the gear in the backyard, inside a rundown shed. It's not understating it to say you'll be sitting pretty for a long, long time with these; there's at least eight wooden crates jam packed with all sorts of supplies. Dried food, fresh water, all sorts of outdoors tools and utensils, dry clothes in a variety of sizes, and much, much more lie inside the shed, waiting for you. With the size of your current crew, you estimate it'll be enough for at least another month. "Oh wow," Violet breathes as she examines the gear. "Someone's been stockpiling, huh." "This is quite the hoard," Dawn comments, tapping the crates with her walking stick to feel it out. "I dare say we'll be sitting pretty for weeks to come. What good luck we have."
"Well, finding it's just the first test, isn't it," Violet comments as she tests to see how heavy they are. Unfortunately, they seem far too heavy for any one of you to carry. Even Hermodur would struggle to move this cargo.
You hear movement coming from behind you. Turning around, you see Lilura holding a kitchen knife apprehensively, relaxing as she sees Silver and Aegis. She is a young Diamond Dog with short golden fur, thin as a rake, with dark, sunken eyes. She wears black clothes, completely covered from neck to toe. She breathes a sigh of relief and grins. "I thought you'd skipped town or something. Good to see you again." She looks from Silver and Aegis to the rest of the group, looking intimidated by your looks, and the sheer number of miscellaneous assembled people. "Er… I didn't know you'd be bringing so many friends." She takes a step forward eagerly, looking behind her at the street to make sure no one's snooping. "I'm Lilura. My friends called me Lily. Excuse me if I don't shake hands, or help much with all this… process…" She looks a bit worried. "Do you have a way out of here?"
Etrigan looks concerned, while Marisol looks more intrigued at your divination. "Something we didn't account for. Or that we couldn't have known about, perhaps. I just hope they pull through."
She looks up at the mountain that looms over Last Hearth. "Hmm. Maybe it'd be best to do some aerial reconnaissance?" she suggests. "So we can plan the attack on the aqueduct better. Maybe have the ship waiting close by."
''We needed to bring all the help we could to haul the stuff back to the ship, and we have a plan for doing so, yes''
"We're pretty sure we do, at least. Man, there's way more here than I thought there would be. Hope we can actually get it all out." In spite of my apprehension, I smile and introduce myself. "Norv. Is fine for now." I knit my brow and look down at the knife. "Everything alright?"
"Miss Lilura, excellent timing! We've just begun the packing process, I feared the worst when we arrived to an empty house."
"We've scouted the area and have opted to make our escape through the aqueducts. Our ship should be en route now."
Turning to the others, i try to help load what we can between the carpet and our bag of holding, careful not to damage the cargo as i work.
[1d10] AssistRoll #1 2 = 2
Noticing just how heavy everything is, I pull out my flask and take a sip of the whale ale.
[1d10]Move barrelsRoll #1 4 = 4
"Where were we carrying this again?" Hermodur asks, eyeing the boxes. "I think we may need to change the plan."
"Wizh ze zhip? I fear zhat'd arrouze zuzpicion of why we're zircling ze zity in ze firzt plaze. It iz a long zhot, but are eziher of you familiar wizh any ziegecraft or cannoneering? While I would azzume zhat ztructurez zuch az an aquaduct to wizhztand a few hitz from a cannon, It ztill needz to provide an exit point for ze ozherz…"
She rubs her chin, thinking.
"True, this is quite a lot more than expected.. We'll load what we can onto the carpet, then pair down what we need and move on with the plan."
"We've got a way out, yeah- it might be a little… rough, but we planned it out as much as we could beforehand. I'm Rabi, by the way- it's good to meet you, Lilura."
She puts the knife away. "Yeah. Just thought you might've been someone else. Don't often get people wandering into my backyard." She smiles.>>729695
"Good to meet you too!" She looks excited to be in the company of proper adventurers.>>729688>>729689>>729690>>729692>>729695
Lily's eyes widen a little. "So you're not just taking the goods? I can come with you?" she asks excitedly.
Violet nods. "Sure, can't hurt to have another pair of hands around. I'm Violet, by the way."
"Oh Gods…" She looks overwhelmed, beaming from ear to ear. "Thank you. Thank you so so much. This is… this is everything.
Wow. I didn't expect a ticket out of here just like that. I mean, I spoke to you two about it before, but I wasn't banking on it happening. I've always wanted to leave, but I never could because of my condition, and my brother. I…"
She catches herself rambling. "Er, sorry. Just a lot to take in. You should know, though, if you don't already. I have a… a condition, I guess you could call it. I break easily. Something passed on, I suppose. I'll try and stay out of harm's way, but I'd hate to be a burden if it comes to it." She looks a bit self conscious, and simply watches as you struggle with the supplies.>>729690
Violet tries to give you a hand, but you don't manage more than two or three steps before being forced to put it down. "Ugh. Wow. What's in this one?" she wonders out loud. "Bricks?"
"Those are the food supplies," Lily calls. "Please, be careful…">>729691
Violet watches with amusement as you grab one of the crates like it's nothing, hoisting it over your head and easily plonking it on top of the carpet. It starts to sag a little from the weight. You get the feeling it'll move at a snail's pace with all that cargo on it.
Lily's eyes nearly pop out of her head as you lift the crate. "Wh… How did you do that?" she exclaims. "That's amazing! It's magic, right? It has to be. No one can be that strong, can they?…"
Etrigan nods. I was Captain Carabas' batman during the War. If he were here, he would have known how to commandeer a proper assault. But I learned a lot in that time. If we could get closer to that side of the aqueduct so I can get a better look, I could come up with a strategy…
Marisol shakes her head. "I was just Grosvenor's bodyguard. Nothing more. The art of war is beyond me, unfortunately. I could try, but it'd only be guesswork. As good as yours."
"I don't know," I say, lifting my arm and giving it a flex. "I think these cannons speak for themselves." I chuckle. "And, uh, they definitely say it's magic. Or more likely alchemy, I think."
''Diamond dogs are usually blessed with powerful muscles. Its good to know we can rely on Master Norvegicus for this task then'' Aegis turned around to Lilura
''Now, while everything is being loaded up, I feel like you should know what our plan will be, and feel free to add any information you feel relevant''
With that, Aegis started to get Lilura caught up with the whole process the party discussed at the ship earlier
"You should know that this is probably the safest, most stable place in the world," Hermodur cautions Lily. "If you still wish to leave, that's your choice. I just wish for you to make it well-informed."
"Anyway, where are we loading all of this?"
setting the box down, i take a moment to catch my breath.
"Goodness, i simply must work on my strength! lifting things isn't quite in my wheelhouse, i'm afraid."
recovering, i try to load the box onto the carpet once more.
[1d10] assistRoll #1 8 = 8
"We'd never turn down a chance to help someone out of we can- things're going to be a little weird for a bit, but we'd be happy to have you along. As far as this, uh… condition does, don't worry about it too much." he says, while loading up.
[1d10] Here we go!Roll #1 2 = 2
"We've brought the carpet with us." i reply, pointing a wing at the floating rug nearby. "It can pull quite the load, though even that has it's limit. We might need to shorten what we take to the basics unfortunately."
Zunden nods to Etrigan, looking to Marisol, "Etrigan haz zome knowledge. I zuppoze it would be bezt to get a view razher zhan fire blindly and on ze fly. We can zircle around ze town onze to get a good view.
I blush a little, but instead of saying anything I just get back to loading the carpet. "Let me know when I should stop."
Hermodur nods and starts loading cargo onto the carpet, starting with food.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Violet scoffs and grins as you show your muscles. "You wish."
Lily seems fascinated by it. "I never thought that was possible. I wish I could do that…">>729699
She nods and takes it in. "That… might be tricky. I try to stay away from there, in case I slip. But I've heard there's barely anyone down there because the Parliament use it for… something. Some sort of factory under the city, if you believe the rumors. I don't know what it builds, or why. Surely not Keepers, they're made at Morrilcole. I get a feeling I don't want to know.">>729700
Lily looks skeptical, but doesn't seem to dare argue, looking intimidated by your presence.>>729701
Between you, Violet and a bit of a telekinetic boost from Dawn, you load up the second of eight boxes. Violet wipes her brow and gets back to work, and between both of you you haul a third up as well.>>729702
A pain shoots up your leg, your old wound from the Sands acting up again, impeding you for a moment. You barely manage to lift the crate, needing help from Violet and Dawn to push it up onto the carpet. It's starting to sag quite a bit.>>729706
You load two more boxes with help from the others. Your prosthetic hand gives you an incredibly firm grip, and there's no risk of damage to it.>>729705
You load up the last two crates. The carpet is so low from the weight that it almost scrapes the ground.>>729699>>729702>>729703>>729705>>729706
As the last of the cargo is loaded, you spot an Observer flying past on the street, with one of the gramophones attached in lieu of an eye. It is followed by a retinue of seven Keepers."Attention. Attention, citizens. The hour is 9pm. All is well. A curfew is now in effect. Please return to your homes in an orderly fashion. Violators will be prosecuted."
As the group move onward, one of the seven splits away, stationing himself on the corner and watching over the street. Lily grits her teeth. "Shit, they're doing this again?" she says with a low voice. "This isn't normal for them. Something has them antsy. You guys haven't stirred up any trouble, have you?"
"Any case. I'm not sure how we're meant to get past without alerting him. When they clamp down on security like this, there's no calling 'em away. He's gonna stay there the whole night without moving." She looks to you with a furrowed brow. "Now what?"
"Right," she nods. "Let's hope we can find something…"
You fly due south to the other end of town, giving the perimeter a wide berth as you fly around to the northern side where the aqueduct is, observing the outer wall while staying out of their line of sight.
You bring the ship to a halt about 500 meters away from the aqueduct. It towers over you ominously, and you can see the tiny silhouettes of Keepers on its upper walls. Marisol observes it through a telescope, which Etrigan borrows on request. Let's see what we can find…
[1d10+2] PerceptionRoll #1 9 + 2 = 11
Etrigan nods, looking satisfied. There. Look.
He passes you the telescope, pointing out a tiny, almost imperceptible spot at the base of the aqueduct. Just across from a moat, you can see a small iron grate. A weakness. We blow that, it should open up access through their canals. It'd be up to them to find the breach. It wouldn't be easy for us though. An explosion like that will alert them in a heartbeat. Perhaps if we had some sort of distraction to delay their response…
''I assumed it was the Keepers, I am not pleased to know I was wrong. If you think of anything else important please let us know''
''It was probably not something we did. We scouried the route we'd take in spirit form, and came here in groups to avoid suspicion''
Aegis looks to the others ''I have an idea. I could get its attention pretending I'm heading back to the ship and ask it to scout me to the gates. They are here to serve and protect as they say, right? If I comply and appear non-threatening I'm sure it will work, but you will have to carry on without me''
I run my hand across the top of my head, smoothing back my fur. This is probably my fault. "Shoot. This might throw off the plan a little. What are we gonna do?"
"If we break one, are the others notified?" Hermodur asks, eyeing the keeper.
"You can unwind one without anything happening, but if it has to chase you or if you break the key then it sets off an alarm."
"Why would it have to chase you?"
"Well, that's just my experience because I was running away."
Rabi lets out a pained grunt and wobbles in place, having to set the barrel back down. He offers a bit of a pained smile to Lilura, before saying "See? We've all got some, ah… conditions. You'll fit in fine."
"Quite the risky maneuver, Norvy. If the key is on their torso, one would risk quite the beating if they failed to unwind it.">>729711
"The question is, would they be willing to escort you, or would you simply be 'prosecuted' for being out by now?"
"If you were
to distract them, doing so right now, so soon after the announcement, would be the best bet."
"So, in theory, someone could sneak up behind one and unwind it? It just requires someone with stealth and mechanical skills. Sounds like this job was made for you, Norv."
''Indeed, I can just say that I am an outsider and was not familiar with the curfew and lost track of the time''>>729719>>729714
''That is also an option. Riskier, but possible''
"Yeah, I wasn't thinking about that when i did it. Actually I didn't even know it'd work.">>729719>>729720
I swallow. "Yeah, I guess it does. Give things a little bit to settle down and I'll see what I can do."
''We dont have much time to think, Master Norvegicus. If we are to take action it has to be now''
"Aegis serving as a distraction may work. Have you seen them willing to move from their post if escorting somepony?"
"I would argue that the option which doesn't involve one of us revealing ourselves to the Keeper is the less risky option."
''If Norvegicus fails, It will call the other guards here and potentially ruin the plan. If I fail, I'm certain only I will be punished, and it will still distract the Keeper for the others''
"I just don't want to go out there and get blindsided by another patrolling keeper. But yeah. You're right.">>729724
"Alright, just-" I take a deep breath and adjust the cloak. "I'll be right back." I pull out my gas mask and slip it over my face.
I slip into the shadow of the doorway and watch the keeper. Waiting for him to maybe look away, or searching for some kind of blind spot, I slip out into the darkness in hopes of finding some route around him.
[1d10]PerceptionRoll #1 4 + 2 = 6
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
"We have ze zhip, cannonz, runez at our dizpozal. Ze only zhing limiting uz iz creativity.
" Zunden rubs her chin again. "We do have zome time, perhapz I zhould experiment wizh zome of ze runez and zee if I can devize zome zort of plan to uze zhem az a diztraction. Crumble one of zheir wall by turning ze ztonez back to zheir original form or ze like.
She begins to the rune she saw above the gate of the town on a piece of parchment, trying to parse how ti works. "Zhiz rune for example, Creazion, iz zomezhing I've yet to underztand ze limitationz. Can I create zomezhing from nozhing, I wonder..
She first places some scrap cloth down on the ground, finishing the rune and imagining the creation of a hat made from the fabric.
[1d10+1] CREATIONRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
"Good luck," Violet whispers as you prepare to head out. You feel all eyes on you as you head out.
You creep around from the other side of the house, watching the Keeper's patrol pattern. It seems to scan areas in a repetitive, mechanical fashion, first looking left, then straight ahead, then right, then straight again, then back to the left. By timing it right, you are able to sprint through the shadows and across the street, ending up directly behind the Keeper. Your movements are muffled by the cloak, making it almost impossible for the Keeper to detect you.
Not waisting a moment, I dart out, hook an arm around the Keeper, and try to sweep its legs out from beneath it. As it goes down, I try to unwind it.
[Cheap Shot: Automatic]
[1d10]Unwind if neededRoll #1 2 = 2
>>729728That could work. Something subtle would do the trick. The quieter, the better.
They both watch with curiosity as you try to fashion the cloth into a hat by way of Creation. It works. Kind of. You just make an ugly lump of cloth that could pass for a poorly fashioned hat. Ganzen, who's come up to the top deck out of curiosity, tries to nibble on it tentatively. "This is a powerful one," Marisol comments. "Lady Grosvenor made use of it quite often. Very dangerous, in the wrong hands. But I trust you not to misuse its power." She smiles a little.
You bring it down and struggle to unwind it. It thrashes and flails unnaturally, hitting you in the face and knocking you away. As it thrashes to get back up, you hear that familiar, awful, shrill sound as it calls for aid. You hear many thundering hooves in the distance.
The Keeper tries to get back up!
From your hiding spots, you hear a sudden loud, piercing sound that goes on for a good 10 seconds or so, like a policeman's whistle, but much, much louder. Your companions flinch and cover their ears. "Shit, that's no good," Lily says once it's over, speaking louder than usual. Seems she was deafened slightly by it. "Your friend's kicked the hornet nest!" Dawn starts to fret and panic, while Violet doesn't think twice about pulling out her twinblade, heading off to go help her lover with determination. "Guess we're improvising!…"Roll #1 3 = 3
Zunden begins to invoke the rune as she listens to the others, intending again to create a similar cloth hat through the rune, but without focusing on the materials she has procured, instead trying to create the object out of pure will alone.
Zunden nods to them both, "I've been zlowly learning ze power of runez. If ozherz uze zhem to deztroy and zeperate, zhen I want to learn to create and bring togezher.
She looks to Etrigan, "Perhapz zomezhing zhat could appear like intruderz on a different level, create zome zort of zimulacrum or at leazt make zome movement to get zheir attention.
"Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10
Flattening my ears from the whistle, i draw my shivs and take cover, masking my approach as i make my way to assist.
[1d10] StealthRoll #1 5 = 5
"Well, it's not too late to topple an entire city," Hermodur comments as he draws Mjolnir. It's unclear whether he's joking.
He follows close behind Violet as he charges Mjolnir.
I go to rub my nose only to have my hand come into contact with my mask. Wiggling my snout, I lunge at the Keeper again. "Stay inside!" I yell to the others. "I'll take care of this!"
[1d10]Improvise UnwindRoll #1 4 = 4
[1d10]PersuasionRoll #1 9 = 9
Aegis goes to rush in, stopping near the doorway at Norv's command, preemptively casting a spell in case a fight breaks out
'1d10' homing magicRoll #1 7 = 7
"Gah, dang. I guess there's no reason to go quiet anymore." the stallion says, working himself to his hooves and starting to draw his bow.>>729736
"What? Are you sure? I could try shooting off the crank?"
You create a replica of a plain bucket hat; only, it's not made of cloth, but of thin air. It's solid as the real thing, and you can wear it easily, but it's completely invisible. If you didn't know it was there, you'd never find it. Marisol looks curious. "So that's what happens when you don't use a physical component," she muses. "Interesting."Like a homunculus?
he asks. Made of whatever we can salvage? It could work. Risky, but possible…
"Stick to the plan!" I watch over my shoulders to make sure the other keepers see me.
Hearing Norv's insistance, Aegis runs in to get a hold of Violet and pull her back in, closing the door behind her
Hearing Novy's insistence to remain hidden, i pause and retreat back to the others, shooting him a concerned look but relenting.
Hearing Norv, Hermodur backs off and puts Mjolnir away. He goes back to where the others are.
"Now ze queztion I've had… can I create zhingz from magic? Juzt az I can zummon orbz zhat hold zpellz wizhin, can I zhape magic uzing runecraft? Or more, could I hold ze effectz of a rune wizhin one of my orbz?
She experiments with the thought, taking out her orb of healing and trying to shape it into the shape of a featureless figure - only in shape, not movement or life.
"But doez it really require life? Zhat zeemz like a unnezezzary rizk indeed.
" Zunden looks to Etrigan, momentarily forgetting the Marisol not having a connection as well. "If ze figure can move in a ztraight line, zhat iz all that would really be needed, no?
"Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4
You stick to the shadows and creep out, taking in the scene. Five more Keepers are rapidly running towards Norv, followed by an Observer. Its eye is strobing rapidly, documenting everything.>>729735
You strike your trusty hammer, and it springs to life in your hands. Lily seems excited to see what happens next.>>729736
You manage to unwind the Keeper. He falls to the ground, twitching and spasming, before lying still. Five more Keepers arrive, but as you call out, they seem to be alerted by your words. One of them breaks away, followed by an Observer, starting to sweep the street while the others apprehend you.
Two of the Keepers move to grab you. "Anticitizen. You are hereby charged with malcompliance, destruction of Parliament property, trespassing, and curfew violation. Resistance will place further charges upon you. Do not resist."
You conjure three icy orbs above your head. Lily looks impressed, but focuses on the situation at hand for now.>>729742
She protests, but keeps quiet. She looks extremely anxious to run out there and help him.>>729744>>729743>>729742>>729739
You see one of the Keepers and an Observer break away, alerted by Norv's cry to you. It starts patrolling up the street, the Observer's eye switching to a blinding floodlight, scanning for anyone outside. Lily, Dawn and Violet duck away, hiding behind the house. "Maybe I should open a Door to him," Dawn suggests in a low voice. "I'm still convalescing, but I could try. It's not too far to be too str-" She is cut off as Lily shushes her before covering her own mouth, not daring to make a sound as the Keeper starts moving past. In the background, you can hear Norv struggling as he is apprehended. Violet looks like she's about to cry, but bites her lip and stays quiet.Roll #1 7, 9 = 16
I try to avoid them and sprint away in the opposite direction the others are planning on going.
[1d10]Guess I should rollRoll #1 6 = 6
Aegis holds her down firmly against the floor, dismissing her orbs
''He will be fine'' She mutters in Violet's ear
Ducking into the house, i keep low and stay quiet as the observer passes by.
"Ah… is he going to be alright?" Rabi asks, keeping his voice lowered. "I mean, I'm not really sure I like the idea of them dragging him off…"
Reaching out with magic, you invoke Creation again, remolding the magic of your orb into a vaguely bipedal shape; two arms, two legs, and a head. The end result looks more like a five pointed star than a being.
"Not life. Something tangible. Material," Marisol explains. "You can't create something out of nothing. To get, you have to give. And if you don't give, something else will in your stead. At least that's what I read in one of her books."
Etrigan thinks. The Servitors can leave the ship, at least for
a distance, can't they? You could send one out, perhaps. Or make something to simulate life, as you are now. Alternatively, I could try drawing their attention before you breach the wall. I don't think I can die anymore. There's nothing they could do to hurt me.
You don't manage to escape before they restrain you, grabbing one arm each. A third trots up and raises his hoof, producing a needle. It calmly stabs you in the chest with it, and you feel… something… being injected into your bloodstream. The awful numbing feeling of paralysis starts washing over you, slowly spreading through your body.>>729749
She squirms as they detain him, panicking more and more. Eventually, as the struggling stops, she hangs her head and pounds the ground with her hoof, silently sobbing with worry.>>729750
He passes by, suspecting nothing. It looks more and more like they're going to take Norv.>>729751
Lily looks at you with a haunting expression, shaking her head. "No. No, he won't."
''It is Master Norvegicus. I know He will find a way out of this'' Aegis slowly begins to release violet
I furiously thrash against the keepers the moment I see the needle, clawing and snapping my jaws at them to try to get them to release me. I know what a single dart coated in that stuff can do, and this- this is concentrated and going right into my veins.
I scream as the needle drives into my chest and redouble my escape effort. If I can get away -if I can run and hide long enough for this stuff to wear off- then I should still be able to lead them away from my friends without getting hurt.
[1d10] Thrashing, Gnashing, and Bashing.Roll #1 8 = 8
Gonna proc GLC if it's actually needed.
Rabi hisses a little bit, but decides to hold on just a moment longer- maybe Norvegicus does have it. He'll keep his bow out, ready to draw a bolt if things go bad… or, go worse than they are right now.
"And, if not, we can save him later."
Biting my tongue, i watch the scene with frustration as he struggles to escape, heeding his wish to keep hidden.Focus.. Norvy has been in his share of scrapes, he'll be fine..right?
Violet springs to her feet as you release her, glaring at you with fire in her eyes. "You'd better be right," she growls, planting her twinblade into the ground. "If we don't find him by the end of this, don't wait for me.">>730052>GLC used
You manage to throw them off of you before they can give you the full dose of paralysis, struggling away and lurching down an alley. Even as you do so, you can feel your limbs starting to shut down, feeling sluggish and leaden. You stumble and almost fall, your body beginning to lose all sensation. Another piercing whistle blast rings out as the Keepers begin chasing after you. With the poison starting to take its toll, there's little chance of running away, but you could perhaps find somewhere to hide.>>730055>>730056>>730054>>729755
Silver sees Norv escape, stumbling away awkwardly and drawing their attention. The rest of you hear this. It seems like he's drawn them away, giving you a clear shot to get moving. "If they capture him," Lily whispers quietly, "he'll be taken to Morrilcole. Processed and turned into one of those things. Like… like Aylward." Violet groans in dismay and starts looking for alternative routes. Dawn shakes her head and starts concentrating, trying to open a portal for Norv. "Not on my watch," she says to herself.
My mouth feels dry, and every step my body threatens to collapse. I frantically look around for somewhere -anywhere- to hide. I've hidden from them before. I can do it again, at least until I can move again.
[1d10+2] StealthRoll #1 6 + 2 = 8
"Well, let's use the opportunity he gave us," Hermodur urges everyone onward.
[1d10] to push the baggage if necessaryRoll #1 10 = 10
With the coast clear, i quickly trot over to the carpet and assist Hermodur as we push the goods towards the rendezvous.
"Can you save him without straining yourself?" i ask dawn with concern "We can't risk our only means of escape on a gamble."
"I… let's hope, yeah." the stallion says, trying to steady himself and push the baggage.
[1d10] ShoveRoll #1 2 = 2
Aegis stares at her with her own cool glaze, but did not argue with Violet, instead turning to Lilura
''I thought they only did that to ponies'' she said as she stayed near Hermo and Rabi with the carpet, but not really helping push it
"Zee now, I can zhape raw magic into it'z own form, can I give runez zhape?
" She moves her claws up from the quill and instead draws the Creation rune in the air, beckoning forth as if she was trapping her light magic in one of her orbs.
>Creation (Frozen Light)
"If Norvegicuz waz to be believed, Etrigan, your body would be rigged wizh mazhinery and made to fight againzt your alliez while you were ztill conciouz of it, zhould you be captured.
"Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9
"They only look like ponies," she answers, her voice trembling. >>730060
"He's not too far. I should be able to grab him," Dawn replies. "…Should.">>730059>>730060>>730061>>730062
You hear the fading footsteps of the Keepers as you head out onto the now deserted streets, sticking to the shadows. You can see an Observer floating in the distance, but not close enough to be able to see you from here. Dawn opens a Silver Door to a nearby location, screwing up her face and concentrating hard. You can see that the spell takes its toll on her; she is trembling slightly as she opens the Door, tears running down her face, as if she were having an allergic reaction. Lily looks worried. "Does your friend often do that?" she asks quietly. Violet bounces impatiently, waiting to see if Norv will come through.>roll Navigation>Rabi and Aegis get +2 due to having found a path to the canals before>>730058
You find somewhere to hide: an empty trash can, barely big enough to fit you. It doesn't look very comfortable, but it's better than being turned into a mannequin. You force yourself into the can and apply some of the powder, pulling the lid back over, just as you hear the Keepers round a corner.
You hear them scouring the area, mumbling to each other in their garbled, synthesized voices. One of them, accompanied by an Observer, trots right up to the can where you're hiding and lifts the lid. You stare right into its blank, wrapped face, barely able to move or speak. It stares for what feels like forever.
It moves on, dismissing you. The powder conceals you from its view, and a few moments later, you hear them move on, continuing to scour the streets for you.
Eventually, you hear a faint shimmering sound, and see a faint silvery light coming from the crack in the bin lid. It looks like one of Dawn's Silver Doors.
If I can actually move I immediately try to quietly climb out of the can and jump through the door.
Hermodur focuses more on keeping an eye out for anything dangerous. [1d10] for PERCEPTION
Also, navigation if you'll allow both. [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
''This place is worse than I thought then. How do you know all this, Lilura?'' Aegis whispers as she leads the way with the dog
'1d10' navigationRoll #1 3 = 3
Etrigan looks disturbed. Ah. …Well, they'd be hard pressed to capture me, at any rate. I don't bend easily.
Ganzen scuttles into the room, and both he and your two companions watch with curiosity and awe as you invoke Creation as an orb of light. Before you, the rune appears - or rather, several instances of it, interlocked and spinning wildly like a model of an atom, sparkling with an unidentifiable colour. "Incredible," Marisol breathes. "Even while serving my Lady I never saw anything quite like that." Not even Dawn could pull that off,
Etrigan comments with awe.
He suddenly seems distracted by something, ears shooting up sharply and looking behind you, perking up like a startled deer. While you don't see anything out of the ordinary, you are vaguely aware of a dread presence, something terrible watching over you.He's behind you,
Etrigan warns. …I think he feels what you've conjured.
"Yeah, her magic is pretty taxing- we'll just need to be a little careful, is all." he says, helping steady Dawn a little. He offers her a cloth to wipe her face, before looking around to try and remember the right wway to go.
[1d10+2] NavigationRoll #1 2 + 2 = 4
Following Rabi's directions, i try to keep an eye out for the right path as i hold the cargo steady.
[1d10] NavigationRoll #1 6 = 6
Your body doesn't respond at first. Luckily, they didn't give you the full injection, so you can still move somewhat. You manage to hurl yourself out of the can and through the portal.>>730070
She takes it with barely audible thanks, and a slight smile.>>730068
"I've been here most of my life," she replies. "I'd give anything to never see this place again.">>730066>>730067>>730068>>730070>>730071
Norv comes through the Silver Door, almost collapsing onto the ground. He looks pale and clammy. It looks like he's been poisoned. Violet rushes to help him, grabbing him before he can hit the ground, breathing a sigh of relief and holding him close. "Are you alright?" she asks, fraught with worry.
Lilura looks him over. She recognizes his symptoms immediately. "Stoneskin. It doesn't look like a heavy dose. It should wear off by the hour. You'll be okay," she reassures him. Dawn almost keels over as she closes the Door, grabbing Hermodur's arm inadvertently for support. She pulls away, a bit embarrassed at her weakness. "…Sorry about that. It never used to be this hard…"
You continue forward at a snail's pace, escorting the flying carpet laden with goods lower and lower into the bowels of Last Hearth. You get turned around more than once, and have to hide to avoid the occasional Keeper patrol, but it's made easier by sticking to the shadows, and making as little noise as possible. Lilura advises you to hold your breath to hide from Keepers more effectively. "They can hear us breathing, and our hearts beating," she says grimly. "Non-living are harder for them to find."
Eventually, you descend through a series of narrow wooden bridges, stairs and cramped alleys, coming to the lowest layers of the city. Shrouded in fog and permeated with the smell of sewage and death, the canals are a maze unto themselves. Curiously, you can hear the faint sound of whirring machinery, coming from inside the walls. It seems to be coming from the Parliament House at the center of the city.
Violet wrinkles her snout. "Ugh, I can smell it even through the mask." "Watch your step," Lilura warns, pointing out the mold and slime clinging to every surface. "And stay out of the water. There's dead things in there. And worse. Cremators and Wretches aren't the only thing to worry about here." "I'm glad I can't smell this place,"
Purdue comments. "It's probably as bad as it looks. Reminds me of Queen Kairon's oubliettes."
Dawn looks uncomfortable with her surroundings, staying quiet.
Norv can feel the paralysis starting to wear off. He can move a bit more freely now, albeit sluggishly. >-2 to all rolls
"What has your strength fading?" Hermodur asks Dawn with a look of concern.>>730072
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 3 = 3
''Excellent work Master Norvegicus, as expected'' Aegis nods ''Is Purdue still with you?''
''Worst case scenery, we could maybe use the water eaters''
'1d10'Roll #1 2 = 2
I chuckle and mumble, "Never better. Looks like I managed to lead them all away." I try to take a deep breath, but it cuts off shorter than I'd like.
For now I let Violet continue to carry me, trying to regain more of my strength. I can faintly smell everything through the mask designed to protect my breathing. I can only imagine how everyone else is doing. "Seems like everywhere we go makes you wish you'd lose your sense of smell."
I turn my head toward the whirring. "Getting the feeling we should be worried about that. Anyone have any idea how far along we are?"
My face grows a little hot, and I'm sure if my body didn't feel like it was made of wet sand I'd beam with peide. I weakly reach down and tap him. "Yep. Both of us made it through alright."
[1d10-2]Guess I'll see if I can peecept tooRoll #1 2 - 2 = 0
''You did good, the distraction you caused opened a good window for us to pass through. But please dont take any more risky measures like that if you can, it was difficult holding Violet down so she wouldnt jump in after you''
''We are almost there by the way''
I pale as we enter the canals, memories of bleached tentacles flooding back to the forefront. i do my best to keep clear of the water, intimately familiar with what could lurk below.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 2 = 2
Zunden stays quiet for a moment, taking in the scintillating colors within the orb and moving it between her two claws.
"..I ztill do not know what zhey meant when zhey called me a Zcriniarii. If zhey wizh to keep dark prezenze here, zhen I will only continue to make brighter lightz to cazt him out.
" Zunden turns her head and stares at the space that was behind her, steeling her expression for a moment.
She shakes her head, "Ze dizcovery iz fazcinating but it ztill doezn't help ze immediate zituation. Zomezhing to diztract ze guardz. I cannot hope to Zever zhem all from zight in one invocation, too many individualz. Ztill, in practize zevering zomeone from zight haz been ze mozt effective way of dezeption.
"Yeah." I give Violet an apologetic look. "I should've use the vanishing powder before I sneaked out. I just didn't want everything to grind to a halt from the very beginning. We're close, and I was probably the best bet, having delt with them before already."
"Dawn, you okay? We could help you along, if you need it." He says, concern in his voice.
When they make it down to the canals, he grimaces a little bit and frowns. "I expected it to be bad, but… Jeez." Rabi says, looking around a little.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 7 = 7
''We have the entire night to go through with this, if there is one thing we dont need, is to rush. Slow and stealthy wins the race
"Tell that to whatever that is." I nod toward the general direction of the mechanical noises.
>>730080>>730072>feel free to respond separately to the two posts, just wanted to make sure there was something to respond to with the previous post while I tried wording this.
Zunden rubs her chin, thinking of applications of the different runes. "What of zevering a location from accezz. Not cutting it from exziztenze… only from accezz.
" Zunden gets up and immediately gets to work testing her theory, isolating one of the dining room tables so she can access either side of it, and drawing the Severance rune. She thinks of severing the distance between one side of the table and the other, so that if she was to walk into the table she'd only emerge on the other side.
[1d10+1] Experimentation with SeveranceRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
''We can afford to take fifteen minutes to plan a path from a hideout, find a breach in their patroling patterns and sneak through''
"I'm… not sure," she admits. "I think it's connected to the breakthrough I made, concerning the thaumic energies that manifest in the rainbow portals. Or maybe it's just everything that's… that's happened lately. I guess I'm just not half the mare I used to be." She gives a weak smile of encouragement. "But I'll be okay. I just have to find a way to circumvent this rut.">>730074"Present and accounted for!"
Purdue says cheerily. >>730075
Lily looks to where the Keepers went. "Yeah. Doesn't look like they'll be back any time soon."
Violet hoists you onto her back, carrying you like a sack of potatoes, face down. You can tell she's struggling with your weight, but doesn't complain, moving along in silence, huffing as she keeps putting one hoof in front of the other, occasionally readjusting her balance.
Lily shrugs. "I try to avoid coming this far when I can. An hour to go till we get to the aqueduct. Maybe more." "With any luck, the rendezvous with Zunden will go off without a hitch," Dawn adds.>>730081>>730083
"Aegis is right," says Violet. "If we rush, we get caught. If we get caught, it's going to be a lot hairier. The important part is you're safe now.">>730082
Dawn nods, smiling again. "I'll be okay. Just need to dial it back a bit. I don't know why this keeps happening…">>730082>>730079>>730077>>730074>>730073
You press on towards the aqueduct. As the mechanical noises grow louder, Rabi points out something odd in the machinery sounds. There's something else layered under it. …Singing. Almost like a church service.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcNNijfPHOo
"Tonight?" Lily mumbles, looking nervous. She doesn't elaborate. Violet's hairs stand on end as she hears it. No one in the party dares say a word.
You press on. The path ahead is a single straight tunnel, which then forks in a Y shape. Before you can assess the paths, you notice a problem. There are about eight figures up ahead. Not Keepers or Observers, and not the beetle-like Cremators Aegis and Rabi saw. These are different. Equine silhouettes, but misshapen. Malformed. Some have enlarged limbs, or shrunken ones, or none at all. An awful sound is coming from them, garbled, unintelligible speech, pastiches of something you'd hear from the Keepers, low and distorted."Alert. Outside every counterpart vanishes a physicist. Citizens are erased in blanket verdicts."
Lily freezes, looking fearful of the shambling figures. "Wretches," she whispers. "No way around them either. What should we do?"
"Do they have any method of summoning backup?" Hermodur asks Lily.
''What are they exactly?''
"I don't think we spotted any of these. What even are these things? Some sort of messed-up Keeper?" he asks, reaching for his bow again and readying a shot uneasily.
Stepping back, i keep low and ready my shivs for a struggle.
"Gruesome things, aren't they?"Roll #1 10 = 10
Seeing how much of a strain I am, I stumble off of her and shamble along beside her, keeping one of my hands on her back. "Really wish I coulda brought a weapon. I might have something, but I'd hate to use it already in case we have something else to worry about. We gonna try to sneak around them somehow? Or fight?">>730089
"My guess is failed Keepers, from the sound of them."
Though you see nothing when you look behind you, you get the feeling you are face to face with this unknowable being, staring into what passes for his soul as he stares into yours.
Marisol does a bit of a double take, looking over to you as she leans on one of the support beams, arms crossed. "What was that word?" she asks, looking curious.>>730085
You draw the Severance rune, then test it. It doesn't seem to have the intended effect, but it does have an interesting one. It is now difficult, but not impossible, to access that side of the table. Pressing against the area surrounding it is like pushing against some soft, malleable surface, like invisible putty. With enough force, however, you can break on through. Ganzen sees you pushing against the air and joins in, looking spooked by the effect and jumping away like a startled cat.
''So long as they dont have the sirens, eliminating them is an option''
"Not anymore," Lily replies, shaking her head. "They're just here to scare people off from coming down here, I think. They're not linked to the Keepers anymore.">>730090
"This must be a new batch they threw out," she muses.>>730090>>730092>>730092
"Some of them are failed Keepers. Others used to be, but they're no good anymore. Usually if they're damaged they rebuild them, but they all fail in time. Those that aren't fit for service get thrown down into the undercity to attack whatever else ends up down here… and when they fail and collapse, the Cremators reduce them to dust." She watches with fear and disgust as the Wretches stumble about, occasionally swiping madly at thin air, as if trying to fend off a nonexistent attacker. She looks like she's going to be sick.>>730091
You hang back a bit, crouching and stepping into the shadows, ready to fight if need be.
Hermodur puts his hand to mjolnir's grip. "Then, simply removing them seems like the fastest solution. Agreed?"
"Yep. Seems like our best bet. I don't really have a weapon with me, though."
"If they're not linked, then maybe we can just handle them. Are they particularly hardy, or not so much? It's hard to tell…"
''Indeed, but dont rush into combat yet. If the fighting alerts the Keepers, either from the noise of fighting or if one of them has a working horn, it will likely be the end for us, I would rather we minimized that risk''
"Well, she said they can't call for reinforcements. So, we just have to do it quietly."
"Most of them seem hardly able to stand, i can't imagine they would present that
much of a threat.." i reply, eying the group of aberrations ahead of us.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 7 = 7
''Not linked, does not exactly mean unable to fire their loud horns''
Violet splits her twinblade in two and hands you one of the swords without a word. She seems extremely on edge.>>730101As you watch the Wretches mumbling and shambling, you notice something moving in the waters below. A slender, colorless appendage form shifts through the sewage, lurking vacuously near the surface.>>730096>>730097>>730098>>730099>>730101
"I'm not too good at fighting," Lily says with a tinge of regret. "Sorry. This is up to you guys. Just… don't underestimate them. I mean I've never seen them in action, but even in this sorry state they can still put up a fight, I imagine."
Violet nods and starts sneaking toward them. "I say we cut them down before they have a chance to react and call for backup," she says quietly. She seems eager to cut the hapless things down where they stand.
''That is a plan as well…'' Aegis agrees with Violet, conjuring a set of crystal orbs
'1d10' homing magicRoll #1 5 = 5
"Fazcinating, not nearly what I waz zhinking of but it'll work juzt ze zame. If I could plaze zuch a barrier between zhem and ze guardz, zhey could have enough time to ezcape.
Zunden turns back to Marisol, "Zcriniarii, ze Oneiromanzer refered to me az one after I had a vizion of Zhree figurez. He waz zhere, and zhey were familiar wizh hiz prezenze.
I take the blade and nod. "Sounds good to me." I take a deep breath and step into the shadowsx trying to hide well enough to get the jump on one of them.
[1d10]StealthRoll #1 5 = 5
"I'm not usually one for quiet, but I can do fast," Hermodur nods as he draws Mjolnir.
He looks at each of the wretches and tries to determine which one is the strongest.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 5 = 5
My focus breaks. In a cold sweat, i stall in my approach as i glimpse the pale flesh of that familiar creature. It takes great effort to not drop my shivs as i steady my breathing before moving forward to prepare.Not again.. It can't happen again..
Etrigan tests it himself. Simple. But effective nonetheless. If nothing else it should slow them down.
"Scriniarii," she parrots, mulling the word over. "It means 'Archivist' in one of the old tongues, if I remember correctly. "I remember Grosvenor using it in conversation with Lysander. Many times. It wasn't my place to ask questions, though. Perhaps the word means something to a scholar of this land. Or some ancient being. I think there's a legend of an Archivist in the Echoes, but I am not a folklore expert." She shrugs. "Something to look into, perhaps."
Rabi readies a pair of bolts in his magic bow, aiming towards a couple in the back.
You conjure a single crystal orb above your head, poised to strike at your command.>>730106
The Stoneskin poison is beginning to wear off more. You manage to will your limbs out of torpor and creep alongside Violet, coming closer to the Wretches.>>730106>>730107>>730108>>730110>>730108
You get a closer look at the Wretches. The name is apt; they look like some part of them wants to be put out of their misery. They are little more than bedraggled, malformed Keepers, their uniforms torn, helmets cracked, bandages around the face stripped away to reveal the desecrated skull underneath. Battered and broken as they are, they still look formidable; some of them have had their extremities ripped away, revealing jagged steel in lieu of bones, while others still cling to their maces and crossbows, while others still carry missing body parts as makeshift clubs. They continue to mutter nonsensically, unaware of your presence. "Alert. Alert. Alert. Alert. Alert. Cauterize the canal block without the unsuccessful magazine. Parliament serves an existence of angle ignores. Priority: unregistered boat steams throughout a case. Alert."
Dawn attempts to conjure some Homing Magic of her own.
Lily hangs back and waits by the carpet, watching anxiously as you prepare to fight.>>730107
Mjolnir comes to life in your hands. As you do so, you get the attention of one of the Wretches. This one looks relatively intact, save for its face, which has been completely annihilated by a blunt blow, ostensibly a mace or a hammer. It turns to you with hostile intent, shambling towards you. "Warning. Above a dynamic tool proceeds the rank mount. Code reminder: Metaphor. Line. Clamp."Roll #1 8 = 8
"I've planned to look into it, again when zhingz are not zo dire.
" Zunden begins to draw the symbol of severance into the air again.
[1d10+1] Severance (Frozen)
"Ztill, a diztraction would be bezt az well, I only fear uzing a Zevitor in ze caze it would damage ze zhip zomehow.
"Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6
Rabi looses the magic bolt, which splits apart and veers for two of the crossbow-wielding Wretches.
[1d10+2] Magic Bow (Split)Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7
You conjure a shimmering copy of Severance in the air. It hangs behind you like a halo, rotating idly on occasion. Marisol watches, curious to see how you'll use it.We have some time now,
Etrigan points out. You could test the limits of a Servitor's range. If that doesn't work, we'll have to find another way to draw their attention.
Following Rabi's example, Aegis releases her homing orb into the wretches backline, combining it with an extra magical ice bolt in a freezing spiral
'1d10' homing magic, ice
'2d10' magic bolt, iceRoll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 5, 2 = 7
Coating a shiv in midnight oil, i skulk forward to strike at the keeper approaching Hermodur, in an attempt to bring it down quickly
[1d10] sleep serumRoll #1 2 = 2
Hermodur pulls Mjolnir back, readying himself for a swing.
>Hunter's Eye on the Wretch approaching Hermodur
He takes a few long strides forward. Once the two of them are met within Mjolnir's range, he lets the rocket swing his arms around, aiming for the Wretch's head. Hopefully, that will make the minimal amount of noise.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the larger rollRoll #1 7 + 3 = 10
/ Roll #2 2 + 3 = 5
I pick one nearby and slip out of the shadows, swinging the blade in a wide upward arc with both hands.
Zunden taps the side of her head, "At worzt, I could alwayz invoke Return to zend ze Zervitor back to ze zhip. I can ztart experimenting wizh zhat now.
Taking the ship back to the side of the mountain, Zunden summons a servitor, intent on seeing just how far it can go with her commands, and if it ever loses it's ability to be controlled at a certain length.
You loose a magic arrow which splits in two mid-flight, spinning in a helix pattern before deviating and hitting both Wretches. Almost in unison, they twitch and start loading their weapons. "When does the motto map its marked academic? Do you poison the cycle without the muttering initiative?"
[1d10] vs Rabi>>730115
Your magic bolt hits the wall and fizzles, while the homing magic shot pierces straight through one of the Wretches. It doesn't seem to be fazed by this. "Peer across an associate weapon, anticitizen."
[1d10] vs Aegis>>730116
You lash out at the Wretch from the shadows, cutting it across the leg. Sawdust spills out, but it doesn't care, or even notice.>>730117
As it approaches, you destroy what's left of its head with a single powerful blow, obliterating it in a fiery conflagration. The large Wretch staggers and takes a knee, but recovers quickly, swinging at you unhindered despite its missing head. "PArliamENTarIAnS hAil the MOUNTaIN, AnD HER gaLAXY fEVErs THe QUANTUM PERCenTaGE.">>730118
You lash out at one of the Wretches, slashing its back open with a single slice. Sawdust spills out on to the floor as it topples forward, struggling to right itself. "Nonillion.">>730113>>730115>>730116>>730117>>730118
Violet quickly joins in, running one of the Wretches through with what should be a fatal blow. To her surprise, though, the Wretch is relatively undamaged by this, struggling to pull the blade free from its abdomen. "Warning. Sociocidal impulses."
A second Wretch lurches towards Violet, swinging at her clumsily. She retaliates by swinging the blade around, impaled Wretch and all, clubbing one with the other.
[1d10] Violet attack
The Wretch attacking Hermodur hurls itself at him in a body slam.
[1d10] Crit range -2Roll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
/ Roll #3 2 = 2
/ Roll #4 7 = 7
/ Roll #5 10 = 10
/ Roll #6 8 = 8
Dawn fires three orbs and a magic bolt at one of the Keepers.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2]Roll #1 7, 6, 1 = 14
/ Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #3 5 + 2 = 7
Your companions watch as you conjure up a Servitor. Obediently, it drifts down, going further and further away from the ship. At a range of about 30 feet, its form starts to become more transparent and unstable, while at 100 feet, it fizzles out altogether.
I try to stay calm as I lunge at the downed retch, dig my foot into the ground, and slice at its throat before it can join back in the fight.
[1d10]ImproviseRoll #1 8 = 8
"Well… I guess I can afford to be a little louder…" Hermodur mutters as he lets go of Mjolnir with one hand. He lets his one arm rotate all the way around until he's holding Mjolnir above his head. He grabs it with his other hand and swings it straight down, plowing the Wretch into the hard ground.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 1 + 3 = 4
/ Roll #2 10 + 3 = 13
''This isnt working effectively. They can persist without essential body parts'' Aegis says as she covers her shield in a thick layer of frost and sharp icicles before stricking the Wretch that approached her
'1d10' Earthen strike, iceRoll #1 4 = 4
With poisons doing little, i switch tactics, slashing at the wretch fighting violet with both shivs into its legs!
[1d10] Dual, meleeRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
" Zunden thinks, getting another servitor to fetch a piece of scrap wood from the damaged rooms and carry it off similarly. "-I wonder when ze Zervitor lozez ze capability to interact wizh it'z zurroundingz.
" Zunden repeats the test again with plank in the Servitor's hands.
You send one out again. It seems that they can travel about 70 feet before becoming completely intangible.
You draw the blade across its throat, spilling more sawdust, but it doesn't seem to hurt it much.>>730124
The Wretch rams into you, knocking you backwards and almost falling into the canal itself. You stumble and regain your footing, retaliating against the attach. With a devastating blow, you slam the Wretch into the ground, crushing its torso under the weight of your enormous maul. It twitches and shudders horribly, then is still. Going for the chest seems the most effective stratagem.>Hermodur takes 5 hits>>730126
You slice down where the hamstrings would be, blades sinking through mummified flesh and sawdust, slicing down to the ankles and exposing the metal beams within. It sinks to its knees."No. Classic suffering past my rotating output."
Violet gives you a nod of thanks.>>730125
You artfully dodge the poisoned bolt, spinning around to strike an incoming Wretch. You go to swing at it, but your blow is interrupted by its own, clapping you over the ears. Your head rings, and you are disoriented for a moment. "Do not obstruct the persecuted autobiography. Amputation is now 3 milligrams." >>730123>>730124>>730126>>730125
"So much for quick and quiet," Violet grunts as she takes a blow from the Wretch. She retaliates by swinging the sword around, clobbering one Wretch with the other and downing them both.
The three downed Wretches struggle to recover.
Dawn blows one of the Wretches to smithereens with a barrage of magic missiles, targeting its limbs and torso. "The head is a distraction," she warns. "Go for their legs, and their chest."
>4/8 Wretches remain
The Wretch attacking Aegis swings again!
[1d10]Roll #1 3, 5, 10 = 18
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
Seeing as she got herself too deep in the fight, Aegis tries to back off and return to the backline, preparing another barrage as she does
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 4 = 4
Hermodur quickly swings Mjolnir at all three downed Wretches.
>Hot Irons on downed wretches [1d10+2][1d10+2]>critails on 2, DC-1, take higher rollRoll #1 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12
Leaving the downed ones to Hermodur, the stallion takes aim at the one swinging for Aegis, and fires off a bolt of Lighting.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2] Magic Bolt (Lighting)Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3
/ Roll #2 3 + 2 = 5
I hold the sword in both hands and lunge at the thing, trying to drive it into its chest. Seems like these things just won't go down.
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
>>730128"Hmn, zo now iz ze izzue how cloze ze zhip haz to be,I do not know how effective of a diztraction a zervitor could be if we zhip haz to be zo cloze.
Zunden snickers, thinking of the wood plank she just had the Servitor carry. "Hold on, I'm going down to ze zhip'z core. I have an idea.
She prepares a Union rune in the air as she makes her way down.
[1d10+1] Frozen UnionRoll #1 1 + 1 = 2
knocking the broken keeper to it's knees, i focus on one of the other injured wretches while Violet finishes the other off, carving it up before it can stand.
[1d10] DualRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
You take a blow from the Wretch again, jagged, twisted metal gouging your cheek. "How can the skip ascend…"
You back off and summon a single orb again, ready to lash out at it.>Aegis takes 2 hits>>730135
As one of them tries to get back up, you carve into its chest, stabbing a shiv into the clockwork at its core, jamming the gears. It shivers and shakes in its death throes before falling limp.>>730131
You swing the hammer low, slamming all three Wretches into the slimy brick wall. They writhe, then are still, fragments of shattered clockwork spilling from the crater they are buried in. Spidery cracks run out from the impact, loosening bits of debris.>>730132
Your shot hits the Wretch in the foreleg, disabling that leg but not downing it just yet. "Insistence. It succeeds opposite the balustrade.">>730133
You charge the remaining Wretch, impaling it through the chest, rending the clockwork in its insides, spilling sawdust every which way, driving the sword almost to the hilt. Pointing it downwards, you kick the Wretch off of the blade, throwing the lifeless corpse to the ground, dangling over the edge of the canal precariously.>>730130>>730131>>730132>>730133>>730134
As the last of the Wretches are defeated, Dawn breathes a sigh of relief, not being used to direct combat like that. Violet starts sifting through their remains for any valuables. Lily looks on with a huge grin, beaming as she ogles you all. "W-wow! That was incredible! I've never seen anyone clean up shop like that before!">roll Perception, and looting if desired
bringing the last of them down, i sigh in relief, sheathing my shivs and taking a moment to join Violet in checking the wretches, mindful of the area around me.
"I'd say these were a fair bit easier than the functional keepers to deal with, thankfully."
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
"Maybe we could come up with another solution…" Marisol starts wracking her brains to come up with something. Both she and Etrigan stay behind as you go down to the ship's core. It's dark down here; darker than you remember.
You try to conjure up a Union rune. The iridescent triple circle hangs in the air, shimmering unnaturally - then, shatters, dissolving like an ice cube in an oven.Curiosity.What will you doWith this newfound strengthScriniarii?
"Yeah, guess experience'll do that."
[1d10]LootRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
"Jeez, these things never shut up." the stallion says, gritting his teeth in annoyance as the Wretch is downed, but not out. He lets out a relieved sigh as it's finally put down, and frowns a bit "Everyone okay? If you're hurt, we oughta tend to it quick. Infections here could be, ah, really bad.">>730136
"Thanks, I guess. We get a lot of experience on that front." He says to Lily, offering a bit of a smile.
Aegis sighs, dismissing her orb ''I underperformed horribly. I was caught out of position, lost focus before and during the fight and contributed next to nothing'' She shakes her head, glancing at Lilura ''I would have liked showing what I am truly capable of, but I pray that I dont get the opportunity to do so''
'1d10+1' faithless lottin
'1d10' perceptionRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
Hermodur puts Mjolnir back on his back.
"We should keep moving," he says as he looks around for any signs of trouble.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
>>730137"I hope we don't get to find out,"
Purdue comments from Norv's belt.
You don't find much but gears and sawdust among the remains. >>730139
You find a large, rusted iron key on the belt of one of the Wretches. The code "A24" is printed on its head.>>730140
"I'm alright," Violet calls. "Just got my bell rung is all. No harm done.">>730139>>730140
She can't seem to get over what she saw you guys pull off. "Yeah! I bet you guys have seen all sorts of crazy stuff out there. Wish I could do anything like that…">>730141
She blinks. "…Well, if that was you being sloppy, I'd hate to see what it's like when you're on point! …Actually, I'd kind of love to see that.">>730139>>730137>>730141>>730140Looking to the edge of the canal, you can see a few deathly pale, rope-thin tendrils snaking out, soundlessly swaying to and fro as if observing, curious to examine what's left after the battle. Dawn, Lily and Hermodur are precariously close to the edge, oblivious to the impending danger…>>730142
You look around for any more trouble. Nothing ahead, nothing on the ceiling…
A tentacle bursts out of the water, wrapping around your ankle, tight as a hangman's noose. With uncharacteristic force for such a frail appendage, it starts trying to violently drag you under, causing you to lose your balance. Violet cries out and rushes to your aid, trying to sever the clammy tendril!
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Rabi turns to say something to Lily and Violet, before letting out a startled shout and flinging out a bolt of silvery magic from his bow at the base of the tentacle.
[1d10+2] Magic Bow (Astral Strike)
"There's something else in the water! Be careful!"Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3
Aegis quickly jumps back into action, readying a homing spell array as she sees the tentacle closing in on the others
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 3 = 3
"Wha-" is all Hermodur is able to say before the tentacle grabs him. He definitely didn't expect this body of water to be large or deep enough for a creature like this.
He claws at it violently. [1d10] claws of life!Roll #1 10 = 10
With Hermodur about to suffer a similar fate to my own, i gallop towards him, drawing a shiv to help cut him loose!
[1d10] MeleeRoll #1 10 = 10
I pocket the key and move to ask Violet if she's alright before the tentacle grabs Hermodur and she takes off. Pulling Vi's sword, I follow after her and hack at it.
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Dawn and Lily jump and scramble away from the edge as Hermodur is grabbed. Hermodur kicks and claws, clinging to the ledge first with both hands, then with one, scrambling and lashing at the pale tendrils. Between Violet and Norv's hacking, Silver's sustained slicing, and Hermodur's frantic clawing, the tendril is severed, almost immediately shriveling and mummifying before your eyes. The stump retracts into the pale, formless mass in the water, and off in the distance, you hear a horrific, shrill, mindless shriek, almost as of vacuous anger. You stand poised to fight off another attack from this thing, but it never comes.
Looking down at where it grabbed Hermodur, you can see he has suffered the same fate Silver did. Color has completely drained from that patch of his ankle, being a dull, lifeless bone-white, with some ugly, sensitive purple welts beginning to form. Lily looks both fascinated and horrified. "A Pale Lurker," she breathes. "I thought they were an urban myth…"
Violet keeps well away from the edge of the canal now, looking off at the bifurcated path ahead. ""W-we should keep going," she says, raising her voice slightly. "Before that thing decides it wants to try again." "What was it?"
Purdue asks curiously. "I couldn't see a thing from back here."
Dawn offers to help Hermodur up with telekinesis. "Can you walk?" she asks with slight concern.
"Pale Lurker, apparently," I tell Purdue. "We have a bestiary. Maybe there's more about it in there now. Unless it has to be in contact with the things we run into." I look over at Hermodur. "But yeah. Probably souldn't stick around."
''Pale Lurker'' Aegis speaks up, producing the bestiary and magically flipping its pages until stopping at an specific one
''Commonly found in dark areas, these mysterious aquatic monsters prey on unaware targets, extending one or more pallid tentacles and attempting to drown their victims'' She quotes looking up at Norvegicus from the book ''Extremely vulnerable to bright light and sudden heat''
"Let's hope it's the last we see of that." the stallion says, stowing his bow and letting out an uneasy sigh.>>730137
"You okay, Silver? Did it get you any?" he asks, concern in his voice.
I knit my brow and watch the part of the water the tentacles came from. "Somethin tells me it wont be. Seems like they show up in sewers a bunch.">>730622
"Right. That. Everyone alright?" I glance to Hermodur. "Looks like it got you pretty good."
Breathing heavily, i watch with wide-eyed focus as the lurker retreats for now. Catching my breath, i nod to violet.
"Right you are, Violet. The sooner we are away the better, with something like that
patrolling the water.."
I sigh as the remains of the lurker limb slough off into the water.
"..Quite alright, dear. Hesitant as i am to continue with these monsters in the water, we have a job to see through. My reservations will have to wait."
Zunden beckons forth her three orbs, letting Severance and Creation orbit around her as she holds the miniature sun in her offhand.
" Zunden clears her throat, "-I zhought I had made it known you were not welcome here."
"Unfortunately, yeah. At least we'll be more ready for it, right?" he offers, looking back towards the water.>>730627
Rabi nods a little, and gives the mare a kiss on the forehead.
"So, does this go away?" Hermodur asks Silver, being a victim of the same sort of effect. He looks to his leg with concern.
Lily keeps a wary eye on the murky waters below as you continue through the canals, undisturbed by the Lurker for now. You come to the fork in the path you saw earlier, the high, circular tunnels leading to parts unknown:
The leftmost path is more well lit, with strange, bioluminescent fungi clinging to the walls and ceiling. The faint, eerie singing you could hear earlier seems to be coming from this direction, as does the sound of machinery.
The rightmost path is dark, and you can hear a faint trudging sound coming from it, like a single solitary figure wandering aimlessly. If you strain your eyes, you can see a tiny pinpoint of light in the distance here; it seems this long, dark slog opens up into a brightly lit area, ostensibly the end of the canals.
Lily sizes up both areas. "Hm… Maybe we should… Uh… I don't know. I don't come here often… Or ever…"
Violet ponders the fork for a minute. "Hey Rabi, Aegis, does this look familiar to you guys? You said you'd been here before, right?">both of you roll Insight
Dawn, being blind, has no strong opinion one way or the other. Purdue gives his two cents, however. "If it were up to me, I'd suggest taking the left path. At least we'll be able to see where we're going. Though, there might be Keepers that way. Both seem valid, really."
"I'd say avoiding keepers is more important than anything else right now," Hermodur provides his own commentary.
"Relax, Lily. We'll find our way through this in time. Aegis and I scouted it out earlier… sort of."Roll #1 9 = 9
"I'm afraid not.. I reply, gesturing to the slightly paler fur along my back leg with a wing. "The welts will fade in time, but the wretched things leave quite the mark."
"I count myself lucky that my fur is already rather pale, else i'd be beside myself in grief.. Not to say it looks worse on you, of course." i add, wincing at Hermodur's discolored ankle.
>>730628UnimportantLesserYou cannotHalt the tideWith a broomScriniariiKnow thisThe game is doneThe mummer's dragonHas scattered the piecesHe has left me little choiceBut to be more direct
The Union rune you conjured reappears, though he does not. It seems he is reduced, for you at least, to a disembodied voice. As you watch, it begins to expand inexorably, slowly but surely threatening to envelop you.
I nod. Mainly because one or two usually seems to mean more. I let out an awkward chuckle. "Yeah. Ain't really looking to getting juiced again today. That stuff is nasty." I rub the back of my head. "Anyone got one of Z's suns? Seems like we're home free if we can deal with the darkness and whatever's waddling around in there. Probably be best if the sneakies snuck in behind, though, just in case."
"I'm just concerned about the health effects," Hermodur says, looking at his ankle still. "I mean, I'm already a mangled mess as it is. This changes nothing about that.">>730637>>730631
"I still have my sun," Hermodur says, pulling it out of his pocket.
"More of those damaged keepers are preferable to whatever may be singing to our left, i'd say. It may be dark, but given how quickly we dispatched them earlier a hooffull more hardly seems a concern."
"You, uh… You think you'd be alright taking the front? Or do you wanna hang back for a bit?" I pointedly glance down at his ankle.
I nod. Sounds like we mostly got the same idea, then."
"It's what I'm here for," Hermodur nods. He holds his sun up high and takes the darker path.
>just going to point out I'm at 1 hit
"Indeed. If something down here is able to sing
, we're dealing with more than a simple machine and i'd rather not take that chance."
''So we did. I recall that the sound of machinary was odd to me. I do not know for certain what lies beyond the path on the left, but it was guarded with keepers, who werent bothered by the loud banging of machines coming from inside… My guess is that the keepers are made there'' She points out
'1d10' insightRoll #1 2 = 2
"Well, alright. Let me just-" I dig around in one of my pockets. "I was gonna ask Silvy to tinker with this this to try to get more uses out of it, but better safe than sorry." I pull out my last Ashbrandy and pass it to him.
"Let's save it until I need it," Hermodur says, pushing it back toward Norv. "I can take a few hits."
I shrug. "Then don't use it now. just hang onto it and give it back to me if you don't need it. I have a few other tricks for backup, just in case."
"Don't zpeak to me of your game, you know I care not for chezz. Even zo, it zoundz az if you have lozt more and more piezez every day."
She grips her staff tightly, "Dezpite my ignoranze towardz zhe true nature of who Zhey are, you know I've invoked Zheir power before. I will
continue to learn more of ze nature of ze Zhree."
Hermodur takes it and puts it in his pocket.
You recall that taking the left path would be the most direct route, but there were a handful of Keepers on patrol at the time. It's unclear if they'd still be there now. The dark path would be much longer, but potentially safer.>>730645
"Those are no Keepers," Lily points out, her voice trembling. "It's… a gathering. The Parliament do this every once in a while. Especially leading up to their Hunt. Used to creep me out when we first moved in, hearing that noise coming up from the depths. …Still does, a bit."
"What does it mean?" Dawn asks with curiosity.
Lily shrugs. "The Parliament are a mysterious bunch. Keep to themselves. The Minister - you've probably heard his voice on the Speakers - no one's ever seen him in person. For all I know he doesn't even exist…">>730632>>730634>>730637>>730640>>730646
You pull out your suns and illuminate the path. Most of the canal here seems to be boarded over, making it slightly easier to progress, but most of them are rotted. Looking back, you see a few small, beetle-like automatons come out of the woodwork, disregarding you entirely as they swarm the defeated Wretches. As a group, they rear up on their hind legs, releasing a gout of flame from their undersides that begins to cremate the bodies. Lily winces and presses on, sticking close to you all, not daring to move out of the light.
Soon enough, Lily and Violet freeze in their steps as you see the silhouette of whatever's shambling about. It appears to be an automaton, but unlike the others you've seen up to know. While the details are unclear, it is obvious that this thing is huge, even dwarfing Hermodur. Several pipes seem to stick out from the top of it, while at the center is a glowing red light covered by metal bars, the same light you thought marked the end of the tunnel. It has no arms to speak of, but two broad, powerful metal legs.
The machine's intent is unclear. It continues to trundle aimlessly through the tunnel, taking up most of the space. Occasionally, it pauses to unleash a blast of heat with a loud hiss, battering you with a wave of steam. It seems oblivious to your presence, despite the glowing suns you carry.
"What is that?" Violet asks Lily in a low voice. She just gets a shrug in response. It's clear Lily's never seen something like this before.
"We shouldn't try to tangle with it," says Dawn, trying to move as quietly as possible so as not to draw its attention. "We can't risk it damaging the cargo."
''We could take it out with one group while another, smaller group guards the cargo from a safe distance'' Aegis says, conjuring some frozen orbs
''If we dismantle it, we wont have to worry about safe passage anymore''
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 1 = 1
I gulp. "Yeah. Maybe- Maybe this was a mistake." I look around at everyone. "I have 5 doses of vanishing powder left. Do you guys know how far we have left? Maybe I can pass it around and we can just, you know. Walk right by?" I do a quick headcount. "I don't have enough for everyone, though, so we probably shouldn't risk it if we can't get right by."
Hermodur silently follows Dawn, holding up his shield as he goes.
[1d10] for silence if necessaryRoll #1 8 = 8
"Let's see… I think you've got the right of it, Aegis. The left path's going to have Keepers, though not a whole bunch. The right path was darker, and… safer, in theory. Hard to say, now that we've seen what else can be here. Though, it's still good to keep it in mind as an option." he says, watching the beetle automaton swarm and dispose of the Wretches with a concerned look. "At least they don't care about us, I suppose.>>730652
"I've got, uh… I've got no clue. I don't think we spotted this when we scouted." he remarks, moving with the others.
''How about instead you use only one dose, on yourself, and approach it? See if you can deactivate it manually like the Keepers, or at least find some kind of weakness''>>730657
''We did not. this is probably some kind of rejected bigger model of the average Keeper that roams this area''
"Check that, definitely sure. I don't think this was here at all.">>730658
"Could be. They make an awful lot of weird things here."
Your words seem to fall on deaf ears as the rune continues to expand. It begins to rotate in place, slowly at first, then faster and faster, eventually moving towards you.You have shown me somethingVeryVerySpecial
Your rune, hijacked by the Oneiromancer's will, passes through you, sending a chill through your body that pierces to the bone. Turning around, you see it dematerialize, then rematerialize, spinning faster and faster as it begins to move throughout the ship, moving up the stairs and towards the rooms, as if seeking something. As it does, you continue to hear him speaking in your head.You are driftingFurther and further out to seaTowards the blindAnd terrible thingsAnd you have invited them hereThank you
Looking down at the Egg you carry, you feel a chilling, painful cold radiating from it in the Union rune's wake. From somewhere aboard the ship, you hear someone collapse to the floor with a resounding crash.
I open my mouth, look over at the furnace bot, look back to Aegis, open my mouth again, and finally close it. I gulp and shift a little. "You're- you're serious? You want me to try to tangle with that thing alone
? Do you really hate me that much, or you actually that confident in my -until recently underpracticed, mind you- skills?"
"Hmm.. If it shows no reaction to us or the lights, perhaps we could weave our way around while it takes pause?"
Aegis glances at the robot for a second and then back to Norv ''I have no ill feelings against you Master Norvegicus, but the chance to completely disarm it and allow us safe passage is crucial, and you are the one best suited for this task, its what I think''
I lick my chops and tap my finger against the side of my coat. "Alright," I say. "Alright. I'll do it. I think I have something perfect for this job anyway. Using it shouldn't be an issue as long as we can get out of here soon." I pull out a small orb with a wick sticking out of it in one hand and the vanishing powder in the other. "This might make some noise."
"Maybe some of us could try to sneak by without it," Violet points out, watching the lumbering automaton warily. "Or all of us could.">>730656
Dawn feels it out with her cane first before moving forward, managing to get behind the gigantic robot easily. You follow in her footsteps and remain completely undetected.>>730657>>730658
"Then where did it come from?" Lily wonders, watching it trundle around. "It's like… some kind of giant furnace," Violet points out. "Maybe it's linked to those beetle things.">>730662
Violet nods and starts sneaking around herself, eager to move on ASAP.
Lily tilts her head. "What is that?" she asks curiously as you pull out the orb.>>730654
Your magic misfires, firing off as an unstable volley of icy particles into the gloom, some of which glance off of the construct's chassis. It freezes in place, then starts lumbering in your general direction, curious as to what attacked it. Lily freezes like a deer in headlights as it starts to show signs of recognition. "Might be a good time to start moving, lass,"
Purdue comments, keeping a wary eye on the behemoth.Roll #1 7 = 7
''I think at this place, a little noise wont hurt. I imagine we are far away enough for the Keepers to not hear us''>>730659
''Master Rabi, you stay further in the backline with Lilura and guard the cargo. If something appears, warn us immediately, otherwise provide support if you can if a battle breaks out. Your arrows reach farther than my magic''
Aegis sneezes as she attempted to cast the spell, and quickly recomposes herself in time to get moving as she sees the behemoth approaching. She holds her breath and presses herself against the wall opposite of the construct, trying to sneak past it as it shambles closer
'1d10' sneekRoll #1 6 = 6
[1d10] for continuing on in silenceRoll #1 1 = 1
"Should we try to move the carpet past it?" i quietly ask "It seems distracted looking for Aegis."
"Do not reach your zhadowz out to ze light, dreamweaver, or find zhey cazt ze darknezz away." Zunden hisses, reaching towards the direction of the Union rune and remembering the melody of the Moonlight Sonata, thinking back to moment she attempted to create the Union rune orb.
>MOONLIGHT SONATA [A piece of music of uncertain origin. When played at night, the performer and anyone who hears it are filled with inspiration and improvement, gaining a single reroll of a failed roll to spend at any moment. The Sonata is long, and takes up to 3 turns to play in its entirety. Each subsequent turn playing the Moonlight Sonata grants the reroll a +1 bonus, up to +2. The Moonlight Sonata can only be performed twice every lunar cycle. Depending on the phase of the moon, altering fate through the Sonata may have unforeseen side effects.]
[1d10+2] UnionRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
Gesturing to the others to assist, i try to start the carpet moving past the machine.
[1d10] gentle pushRoll #1 8 = 8
"It's a bomb. I just hope it's actually enough. I'll catch up with you guys in a sec." I pointedly look at Dawn. "Don't waste your energy this time. You'll need it for when we get out." I toss the vanishing dust on myself, take a deep breath, and make my way toward the giant robot from the side to get an idea of what I'm dealing with. Particularly how wide the furnace gap is and if there are any particularly large chimneys.
[1d10]Perception if neededRoll #1 8 + 5 = 13
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
As you reach out to the rune and close your eyes, you swear you hear the first few notes of the Moonlight Sonata in the back of your mind. When you open them, the rune is gone, hovering above your head, now in your control.Curiosity
You feel something coming from the Egg. Looking down at it, the unearthly chill is still emanating from it, but alongside it is a rhythmic thumping. Like a beating heart. You meddle with things beyond my reach nowThis isUnforeseenI will tell youThis one final thinghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6twHZCfGtQThere is a holeAt the center of everythingA hole that steadily expandsAnd empties existenceAnd you are at the center of the holeThe hole you cannot fillHide itRun from itFear itThe fate of this place cannot be alteredThe nothingnessIs inexorableScriniariiDo not delay unrealityYou are atomsIn monstrous existenceYou carry the hole nowWherever you goIt is youYou are itYou areAn extinction entity
"Could be, yeah. We did see some… furnaces, or something, in some parts. Maybe there's storage space down here for whatever these things are?" He says, frowning a little.
Rabi keeps an eye out, letting the others do… whatever it is they're doing to the machine.
[1d10] Perception, sticking back while keeping the carpet steady.Roll #1 5 = 5
(Swapping to sneak, then)
You manage to skirt around it undetected. The ground quakes with its very step as it begins to search for you, albeit unsuccessfully.>>730668
As you move onward, your foot goes through a rotting plank, taking a few others with it and stirring up the murky waters below. You see a pale form shift beneath it. The Lurker seems to be following you through the canals, waiting for another moment to strike.>>730671>>730674
Dawn helps with telekinesis, and Violet grabs the edge of it and pulls the cargo along, moving quietly past the giant machine. You are completely undetected, for now.>>730672
"You've… been carrying explosives this whole time?" Lily says with a tinge of worry.
You vanish into thin air once more and flank the robot, sizing it up. You get a good look at the machine now. It seems to be quite literally a walking incinerator; the central light is filled with glowing coals, while smoke pours intermittently from four chimneys at its top. Its metal body is covered in small panels, which seem to host something, while the legs are thick as your torso, and piston powered. It doesn't seem to be designed for combat, but it would be extremely difficult to destroy. For one, you're going to be hard pressed to get close enough to drop a bomb down; it radiates heat wherever it goes, its surface hot enough to burn you on a touch. You'd have to find a way to get to those chimneys without touching it. Alternatively, you could try to open the central door that leads to the coals, but that would risk drawing its attention.>>730674>>730672>>730671>>730668>>730667
Being close to the Incinerator presents its own problem; the heat radiating from it is almost unbearable. The closer you are, the more you run the risk of suffering burns, and the sweltering heat and steam is gradually wearing you down.>for every turn you are close to the Furnace, roll an instant saving throw to resist the heat
[3d10] Violet, Dawn, Lily save
"Let's just get rid of this thing and be done with it," Violet grunts as she weathers another heat wave. "Longer we stand around, more chances it's going to decide it doesn't like us or something."Roll #1 9, 6, 8 = 23
sweating from the heat, i keep pushing the cart further down the pathway.
[1d10] Heat resist
[1d10] pushRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
"We've nearly passed it now, i'd much rather work up a sweat than fight for our lives, given it's ignorance of us."
''No, fighting it now will just prolong our suffering in the heat, we must focus on leaving with the cargo'' Aegis hushes Violet, panting as the heat is gtting to her as well
'1d10' resistRoll #1 1 = 1
Zunden scowls, unnerved slightly by the pulsing egg but resolute feeling she's thwarted whatever the Oneiromancer just attempted.
"You do not dezide Fate, nor do I. Do not claim to be familiar wizh ze outcomez. You only zhow yourzelf when zhingz prove to not go az you have planned. Begone from here lezt I invoke Zheir power."
[1d10] Heat Resist
Rabi huffs a little, and tries to keep the cart moving.Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
Hermodur sees the others struggling and goes back to push the carpet with them.
[1d10] heat resist
[1d10] pooshRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
'1d10' to keep the dark from coming
Roll #1 6 = 6
>>730680Death can be postponedBut not deniedThis is the multiversal truthIt will come for youFor ThemFor meI crave itMore than you can know
You get a feeling like something rushing past you. It feels like a great weight is lifted off your shoulders all of a sudden. You get the feeling he's gone, for now.
Before you can stop to ponder what's happened, you hear Marisol at the top of the stairs. "Zunden? Zunden, are you down there? It's Etrigan… he's… something happened. You should come and see."
Deciding it's not much of a threat as long as we keep moving, I tuck the grenade away and rejoin the party. "I don't think it'll be much in a fight if we do have to fight it. Doesn't seem built for combat, but it's definitely built to last. I say we just get out of here as fast as we can."
[1d10]heat resistRoll #1 9 + 5 = 14
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
"Zo it waz not tied to ze Union rune, very well." Zunden sprints up the stairs to Marisol with a fierce gaze, following her to Etrigan. "You heard not my converzation wizh Etrigan but he ze Onieromanzer had been zpying upon uz for zome time and he had zight of him. He haz juzt zhown himzelf to me again."
You are forced to stop, catch your breath, then keep going. The heat keeps wearing you down, weakening your every step.>attacks against you crit on 9+ until the end of this area>>730681
As the Incinerator unleashes another blast of steam, you try to avoid it, but are standing too close. You take it right to the face, leaving you with painful yet mercifully superficial burns. "Are you alright?" Lily says with genuine concern. "I have some healing balms packed away somewhere. We can patch that up if you need it.">Aegis takes 1 wound>>730685>>730677
You rejoin the rest of the group as they sneak past the Incinerator. Though the heat is overwhelming, you remind yourself that you've survived an archdragon's breath before. This is nothing in comparison. The circumstances only strengthen your resolve even more.>-1 DC to all rolls until the end of this area>>730681>>730679>>730682>>730677>>730685
You manage to move past the Incinerator in one piece, leaving it to its aimless wandering. Unfortunately, its steps seem to have weakened the surrounding stone considerably. As you push on, some of the stone gives way, and one of the crates slips right off the carpet, crashing loudly through the rotting planks and sinking into the murky waters. Violet swears loudly at the sight, while Lily bites her lip in worry. Looking back, the sound seems to have caught the Incinerator's attention, and it starts lumbering back towards you steadily, unleashing a blast of steam in your direction. >roll to resist again
Dawn tries to retrieve the crate, straining to lift it out with telekinesis. It seems to have gotten bogged down.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
Marisol looks grim at the news, saying nothing as she leads you to where he fell. "I didn't know what else to do," she says with worry.
Etrigan has collapsed on his side, breathing shallowly, hooves brought up to his chest. His entire body has been drained of its usual brown, becoming entirely pitch black, save for his clothing. Even his antlers are black as tar. He seems to be in a catatonic state, hyperventilating and twitching unnaturally. You try to think something to him, but the bond seems to have been cut off.
panic ensues as one of the crates fall and the furnace begins to lumber over. attempting to avoid the steam, i take to the air and over the crate, in at attempt to help pull it out of the water!>Bounce
[1d10] Heat resist
[1d10] Recover crateRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
''Later'' Aegis says, maintaining her composure despite the burn
Aegis attempts to join dawn in her efforts
'1d10-1' prestigidation, teleknesisRoll #1 3 - 1 = 2
/ Roll #2 9 - 1 = 8
I barely resist groaning as I see the furnace heading towards us. Pulliny out my flask, I wait until we're moving again, take a swig, and start pushing.
[1d10]ResistRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
[1d10] "Ghh, I really don't like this." the stallion mutters, trying to stave off the heat.
[1d10] PushRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
As Dawn pulls back the nearly lost crate, Hermodur helps put it back on the carpet. He then continues to help push.
[1d10] pooshRoll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
Thinking quickly and thinking of the crystal Zunden had just went to visit, Zunden summons forth the Union rune and crushes it in her hand, the symbol forming over the failing body of Etrigan and causing the ship to shudder.
>Instant Auto Frozen Light: 12 to Union between the ship's core and Etrigan's mind, giving it a place to escape from the deteriorating body.>also +1 to next roll cause frozen light
Invoking the power of the chariot and drawing a creation rune into wood below her, she focuses all her determination into creating a version of Etrigan's deer body out of the ship crystal's magic alone.
>Chariot: Creation Runecraft
Silver hauls it up with all her strength, aided by a joint effort from Aegis and Dawn. Between the three of you, you manage to haul the dripping, sodden crate back onto the carpet safely. Lily lets out a sigh of relief as you do. "That was lucky. Sorry I can't be more help…">>730689
The wave of steam rolls over you, momentarily blinding you as you finish setting the crate back on. Your vision clears after a minute, but you've suffered some nasty burns to the face.>Silver takes 1 wound>>730689>>730690>>730691>>730693
The heat keeps wearing you down, almost bringing you to your knees.>attacks against you crit on 8+ until the end of this area (9+ for Norv)>>730689>>730690>>730691>>730692>>730693
Another crate almost falls as Rabi's leg acts up again, but Norv manages to save it with a swig of Whale Ale. Together, you manage to push it free, and away from the Incinerator for good. You have to watch your step a bit more carefully from hereon out, but you're out of its range.
As you keep moving, you start to feel the water below you shifting. It seems the Lurker's not going to give up so easily; it hasn't revealed itself yet, but it seems to be shifting about, clearly planning an attack.>roll Perception
taking a blast of steam to the face, i yelp in pain as i land to rub my eyes. panting from the heat and the exertion of flight, i blink to clear the tears as i look around for signs of the lurker!
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 6 = 6
''Master Norvegicus. Light'' Aegis commands
'1d10' perceptionRoll #1 8 = 8
I let out a relieved sigh as we get the carpet free of the incinerator. The relief is shortlived, however, as I hear the water below us. This thing really isn't gonna just let us go, is it? I peek over the edge.
[1d10]PeekingRoll #1 9 = 9
I jump and tense a little at the order, but immediately guide my sun a little nearer to the water, only comfortable doing so because the furnace didn't react the first time. "Right. Sorry," I say, more as a reflex than anything.
Rabi grits his teeth, wishing he'd had time to let his leg heal properly. Or, just hadn't gotten it hurt at all.
Once they've cleared the incinerator's path, he tries to take a look around to see if anything in particular's lurking… [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
Hermodur quickly holds out his sun in the direction of the Lurker. He points the light source at it menacingly.
[1d10+2] to intimidate the Lurker awayRoll #1 6 + 2 = 8
Marisol watches with apprehension as you get to work. Even as you invoke runes, you see Etrigan's strength start to fail. It seems the Oneiromancer's bond with him is starting to strengthen, as a result of the entity's sudden surge in power. His cloak and scarf begin to turn black as well, cracking like porcelain and crumbling to dust, revealing the extent of Etrigan's injuries. A scar runs across the elk's neck, revealing where his throat was slit, while his face is littered with scars, pockmarks, and eroded skin, at some points revealing the bone beneath. It seems that he is mute not because of his undead state, but because his throat was destroyed.
You invoke the runes with all the strength you can muster, calling on the power of the Chariot. Marisol looks on in awe as a second Etrigan begins to manifest, foggy and distant at first, but gradually clearer, a perfect, healed replica of the elk, glittering blue and white like a Servitor. The simulacrum stands there blankly, unmoving and unresponsive; then, with a jolt, it comes to life, staggering backwards and looking around in confusion. "GET OUT OF MY MIND!"
As Etrigan in his new form begins to gain his bearings, his body, now black as death itself, becomes inert for a few crucial seconds; then, wordlessly, it rises to its hooves, graceful, almost like a ballet dancer going through the movements. Marisol and Etrigan can only look on in shock and confusion as the black Etrigan stands up.UnexpectedNot unwelcomeThank you
Marisol, instinctively, lunges forward to attack. Etrigan's body twists and transforms eerily, becoming a formless black shape, rocketing towards the nearest window with inhuman speed and vanishing into the night sky.
Aegis nods an follows suit, producing her own sun
As Norv, Aegis and Hermodur hold out suns to the Lurker to scare it off, you see several of its white tendrils twist and curve away from the light, bending around to avoid it while going for those still in the shadows. Fortunately, you all get away quickly enough to warn the rest of them, and its attack falls short.
The Lurker is not completely undeterred, and sends out three rope-thin appendages to attack and ensnare!
[1d10] vs Silver, crits 8+
[1d10] vs Lily, crits 9+
[1d10] vs Rabi, crits 8+
Violet hacks at the tentacle attacking Silver!
Dawn fires a silver blast at the one attacking Rabi!
[1d10+1] [1d10+1] Magic BoltRoll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
/ Roll #3 1 = 1
/ Roll #4 8 = 8
/ Roll #5 9 + 1 = 10
/ Roll #6 2 + 1 = 3
Hermodur revs up Mjolnir.
leaping back as the tentacles burst from the water, i pull my Shivs and slash at the limb snaking towards Lily!
[1d10] MeleeRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
I dart between Lily and the tentacle, hacking at it with Vi's sword.
Aegis reflects the tentacles aiming for Lily, covering her shield with a thick mass of ice and swiftly parrying
'1d10' earthen strike, iceRoll #1 1 = 1
[1d10]Cheap shot, ImproviseRoll #1 1 = 1
"I zaid begone
Zunden says as she readies to draw the severance rune, but stops as the nega-etrigan bounds out into the night sky. Exasperated, Zunden falls on her butt and drops her staff, weariness washing over her. She looks up to the glittering elk with worry and fatigue.
Rabi lets out a startled whinny and ducks out of the way, before drawing his bow up and aiming. He fires off a blue-tinged 'arrow', hoping that what he went over with Dawn works!
[1d10+2] Astral StrikeRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
Mjolnir roars into action as the Lurker commences its desperate assault.>>730706
The limb twists and slaps you to the ground, but not before you manage to sink one shiv into it, drawing pale green ichor. Something about this strikes you as familiar…>Silver takes 5 hits, helpless>roll Insight, instant>>730708
A fourth tendril shoots out and grabs your leg, smacking you against the stone floor before beginning to drag you over the edge. You cling to the edge with all the strength you can muster.>Aegis takes 5 hits, helpless>>730712
You nimbly dodge the tentacle and counter with a quickly drawn spectral arrow. The tendril goes completely limp, slithering into the water as it's knocked into the astral plane. Curiously, you notice the rest of the creature seems to be functioning still. A hivemind, perhaps?>>730705>>730706>>730707>>730708>>730712
As the tentacle grabs Lily, she screams in terror, getting thrown to the floor. You hear a stomach turning crunch
as she falls. It seems she wasn't lying; her leg crumples and folds horribly on itself, leaving her completely helpless. Norv swoops to the rescue, severing the tendril in a single stroke, sending the still squirming appendage soaring through the air and splatting to the damp stone floor.
As Rabi knocks one of the tendrils into the astral plane, Dawn follows up with a powerful blast, reducing the appendage to ash. Violet hacks and slashes at the third one, causing it to retreat momentarily.
As all three tendrils are taken down, a fourth continues to drag Aegis down!
Meanwhile, two more burst out from the filthy waters, hellbent on attacking Hermodur and Violet!
[1d10] vs Hermodur, crits 8+
[1d10] vs Violet, crits 9+
Violet slashes at the tendril with a fierce battle cry!
Dawn focuses before conjuring a small orb of flame and hurling it into the waters below!
[1d10] Fire ElementalistRoll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
/ Roll #3 5 = 5
/ Roll #4 10 = 10
Aegis desperately kicks and squirms, trying to gain footing as she clings to the floor
'1d10'Roll #1 7 = 7
The ghostly form of Etrigan looks around, still confused about what just happened. "…Zunden? …Gods… I can speak… I… …I can speak!"
He marvels at this for a moment with an ecstatic grin. "I… …Wh… what happened? I felt him in my head again, then I blacked out, and then… I found myself in this form. …Did
you do this?"
Smashed into the ground from the heavy tentacle, it's green blood sparks a familiar scene. Though i'm focused on recovering, my mind races to remember what it was..
[1d10] RecoverRoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
Rabi winces a little at the sound of Lily's leg crumpling, but leaves it for now- Norv cut her lose, it seems. Rabi turns his bow on the tentacle dragging Aegis under, and fires off a bolt of light!
[1d10+2] [1d10+2] Magic Bolt (Light)>>730713
Rabi takes note of how the tentacle reacts, and figures it'd be good to bring up later.Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
/ Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9
I want to stay and make sure Lily is okay, but I don't have time. Without stopping to think I grit my teeth, turn on my heels, and lunge at the tentacle attacking Violet, chopping at it with the blade.
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
"He waz taking over your body when I Marizol brought me here.. I-I.. didn't zhink, I only acted. I zhought of ze ztrongezt zhing here zhat I could join your mind wizh zo zhat ze Oneiromanzer couldn't take zhat too."
Her tail flicks reflexively and she holds it in her lap, remaining content to sit on the floor as she doesn't have the wherewithal to pull herself up at the moment.
"I'm zorry… if I waz zhinking right I zhould've tried to zever him from your body and prevent him from taking it, not giving you zhiz one and letting him ezcape. Fatez know I hate dealing wizh him, I feel zo drained."
"Shit," Hermodur mutters as he remembers Lily's condition. But, there's no time to lament as a tentacle comes for him. He holds up his shield.
>Bulwark, Instant Automatic
He then swipes at both tendrils at once with his hammer. It's not all that great since… it's a hammer. But, it's the weapon he has!
>Hot Irons on both remaining tendrils>[1d10+2] [1d10+2]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
/ Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7
You manage to kick the tendril loose, slamming it against the wall with your leg to loosen its grip before hauling yourself back over and rolling up onto all fours. Your leg is drained of all colour, and covered in purple markings, but you are otherwise fine.>>730716
You recall the grotesque regenerating creature that guarded the moat of the Timeless Castle, a pale, fire-hating entity comprised of many interlinked hands. It bled green, much like Lurkers. A link between them is more than likely, and as you recall from Carnifex's notes, its fluids are useful in the creation of healing potions.
You manage to right yourself, battered and bruised but otherwise okay.>>730717
As Aegis manages to pull free of it, you fire off a glowing yellow bolt, which bursts in a brilliant light display on impact with the tendril. You hear the Lurker screaming somewhere in the distance as the tentacle recoils, sizzling and burning in the sudden light, crumbling to dust in mere seconds.>>730718
The tentacle twists around and backhands you as you approach, slapping you across the face. You stumble backwards and fall flat on your back.>>730720
As Rabi downs one, you focus your blow on the other, deflecting the tendril's grasp with your shield and countering with a powerful downward smash, shattering the stone itself as you crush the tentacle with a single blow, severing it. The remains of it twitch horribly, gushing green fluid every which way like an out of control hose before retreating back into the water.>>730720>>730718>>730717>>730716>>730714
Violet's frantic blows prove futile as she is dragged off her hooves and into the water. Dawn's fireball rings true, striking some unseen body beneath the surface. All remaining tendrils seem to shrink and retract as the conflagration impacts on its surface, and the Lurker retreats with a high pitched whistling screech.
Violet tries to pull herself out of the canal and back up top, clutching her sword like a lifeline.
Dawn tries to help Lily up and onto the crates with telekinesis, who's groaning and heaving in pain from her multiple broken bones.
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
He looks down at his new body, inspecting his iridescent azure form with wonder. "There's nothing to apologize for. This is like nothing I've experienced in a long time. Thank you. Sincerely. You saved my life, and gave me back my voice. I owe you more than you can possibly imagine."
"It's good to finally meet you properly," says Marisol with a friendly smile. "Likewise. I didn't think I'd ever be able to speak again. I'm looking forward to working with everyone else more closely from now on."
He looks back to you. "Zunden. If there's ever anything I can do for you, I'll do it. You've given me everything and more."
Zunden rubs her head, intent on finding some wrongdoing in her actions. "Well ze Oneiromanzer now haz a corporeal form zhankz to my hazte, I don't know what problemz zhat will cauze." She pauses, blinking and mumbling to herself, "You'd zhink zhat'd be a weaknezz more zhan anyzhing. Eazier to bind to a locazion…"
She looks back over to Etrigan, "Anywayz… I'm juzt glad I waz able to zave your mind and… zhape. Zuppoze ze body had long ago died anywayz. I ztill don't know what exzactly I've done to you zhough. Az far az I'm aware you're made up of ze zame zhingz ze Zervitorz are made of, but what zhat meanz for your ability to interact wizh ze rezt of ze world I do not know."
>>730854"All I know is he's out of my head. It doesn't seem like he's bound to his own realm anymore. Doubtless he'll try to extend his influence to others he encounters…"
"This is bad," Marisol chimes in, folding her arms. "Grosvenor always spoke of him like he was trapped in dreams. With him freed from there, gods only know what could happen.""Even after all this time, it's strange to think that I've died before,"
Etrigan muses. At the mention of his unknown capabilities, he starts putting it to the test. He seems to be able to physically interact with things still. He seems to get an inkling of something else he can try. "Let me risk… Perhaps…"
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
He closes his eyes and concentrates. For a moment, nothing happens; then, you both jump as the ship lurches violently, a door somewhere slamming shut and the lights flickering. He opens his eyes and steps back. "…Sorry. I thought I could try something. It looks like we have the same bond with the ship. That I can manipulate it, like you can. It'll take some time to get used to, I imagine. …What an odd feeling. I don't know how you do it."
"Well ze bond you have iz already clearly different, I waz pazzing in and out of conzciouznezz. Fatez, zhere'z anozher zhought- zhough, I zuppoze again you're already uzed to not needing zuztinanze or rezt. I only worry zhat while ze Oneiromanzer runz free.." She looks out the window, "I may have… trapped you here."
Zunden emits a bassy rumble trying to think over the results of everything that had just happened in the last 30 minutes.
"Well ze Oneiromanzer haz and ztill will remain a worry of ourz, at leazt we can azzume he will be occupied wizh hiz new form for ze time being, maybe give uz a breadzh of time to prepare. Az long az all of uz togezher, I'm zure-" Zunden cuts herself off, cursing under her breath. "Ze ozherz, I waz trying to figure out a way to help zhem before ze Oneiromanzer zhowed zhemzelvez. Aggh.. not what I azzumed ze reading would have meant, but Fate iz fickle."
Wordlessly, he starts heading upstairs to the main deck. After a few moments, he rematerializes in front of you, looking confused. "…Oh. …This is it, then. This is all there is."
He takes a few steps away and sits down for a while, trying to process everything.
Etrigan doesn't speak up, overwhelmed by everything that's occurred. Marisol doesn't either for a moment, looking at him with slight concern before voicing her opinion. "We should just wait for a signal from the others, then blow a hole in the wall for them to escape from. Of course, we'd have to get close enough to do so accurately, which means attracting unwanted attention. Hm… Is there something else we could try?…"
Zunden's heart pangs at Etrigan's tone changes from greatful to the same worries the saurian had had. She looks down at the floor, letting out a sigh.
"I… I don't know, I don't want to end up hurting ze ozherz in ze prozezz. I'm not confident wizh my ability to plan out zomezhing great right now… I could attempt to practize runecraft and Return zhem to ze zhip, but I do not know if ze zuppliez zhey would have wizh zhem would come wizh."
Having gone from sitting on the floor to standing, Zunden sits back down on one of the dining benches, frazzled and experiencing a wash of bittersweet remorse. "Ozherwize, what do we have available? Cannonz az iz clear, ze boat itzelf, zome mizcellaneouz artifactz zhat won't do. I've got a bottle zhat when zmazhed releazez an entire zhip. Never known when'z ze time to break zhat zhing out."
She nods and hums. "It doesn't help that we don't have too much at our disposal. The purpose of the mission, I suppose."
She does a bit of a double take. "An entire ship? Where on earth did you find something like that? It might be the time to use it. Or, if we want to do this more subtly, we could try to pry open an entrance somewhere. That'd mean leaving the ship, though… Hm…"
You are dimly aware of Etrigan having left while you talk to Marisol, having adjourned back to the top deck.
"An entire zhip zoundz like far more.. deztruction zhan would be needed. Innozent people live in zhat town too, regardlezz of what we're doing. Ze planz weren't to deztroy ze aqueduct after all."
She nods, "Maybe zhat iz where Return would come in handy zhen.. have zomeone loozen an entranze and zhen zee if I can uze ze rune to zend zhem back to ze zhip."
Zunden gets up and moves a chair seeing if use of the Return rune would move it back to it's position.
[1d10+1] testing ReturnRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
Marisol watches with curiosity as you invoke Return after moving the chair. It seems to work, but not very well; the chair moves a few inches back to where it was before. "Hmm. This could work," she nods, touching her chin. "I suppose it'll have to be me; you need to stay here and, well, Etrigan can't leave. Th-"
She is cut off as Etrigan bustles back down, looking disturbed by something. "Zunden. Marisol. Those mechanical things in the city, they've spotted us,"
he declares urgently. "There was some sort of metal orb floating around the ship when I went up. It flew off back towards the battlements as soon as it noticed me. …They must know we're here. What should we do?"
"I have potionz zhat enhanze one'z ztrengzh for a brief moment of time, you could eazily juzt punch ze brickz out."
Zunden pauses, turning to Etrigan worried. "We.. we're not trezzpazzing here are we? We'd have to make two pazzez over ze aquaduct at leazt, one to let Marizol down and ze ozher to pick zhem up. I do not have ze time or energy to hide ze entire zhip from zight like I had for ze zwarm in ze dezert."
>>730863"I don't know. I think it was just a patrol. They might be back. Probably in greater numbers. Should we move the ship? Or hold our ground and try to invent an excuse for being here? Even if we're not trespassing, they're probably suspicious of us by now."
"We can use this," Marisol points out. "If the ship has their attention, I could slip in while they're distracted and make a path for the others. The only problem is we'd have to find the others first. Do we have a way to get in touch with them down there?"
"We zhould have a few Harbingerz zomewhere around ze zhip. Quiet a few of uz have zhem, hopefully zomeone left one behind. I wonder.., could likely have zhem do all ze work inztead. Zhey do more zhan juzt zend mezzagez."
Zunden goes searching around the ship with her shipvision. [1d10]
"If I find one, we could hide inztead of pazzing twize."Roll #1 2 = 2
Etrigan wordlessly leaves to go find one. Marisol nods and does the same. "I used to have one myself. Maybe it's still around…"
[2d10]Roll #1 5, 6 = 11
After a bit of searching, they return to you with three Harbingers: an ebony raven (Rabi's), a glass stoat (Marisol's), and a stone cat (Aegis'). "Take your pick," Marisol shrugs as she sets them up neatly on the table like collectable figurines.
"Ze question iz now if zhey can imbibe ze ztrengzh potionz like living creaturez." She pauses, "Well, perhapz I could bond zhem togezher anywayz uzing Union or ze like, infuze zhem wizh ztrengzh. If a Harbinger can find a way to zhe individual zhey are delivering to, zhen zurely zhey could be told to ztrike ze wall between zhem and ze target inztead of going ze route zhat would get zhem zhere zafely normally."
Zunden's taps her claws against her staff, starting to brainstorm. "In fact, zinze we have multiple, we could zimply have ze ozher onez punching holez in plazez ze party izn't
, juzt to run diztraction. No harm would come to any of ze crew, and zinze zhey would revert to a zmall object afterwardz it would azzumedly be much eazier to invoke Return on zhem zhan zay, yourzelf Marizol."
Marisol tilts her head. "I've only ever heard of them being used for messages and the like. It's worth a try commanding them to do otherwise, but if not, perhaps your runic abilities could imbue them with something else to that end. Severance especially is versatile enough to rig as a destructive tool."
"Your grasp of runecraft is remarkable, by the way," she comments. "In my experience, it takes a long time indeed to be able to invoke them even on the basest of planes. I have only seen talent like that once before.""There's still the threat of those mechanical things coming for us,"
Etrigan reminds you. "They already know we're around here somewhere. How long do you think it'll be until they send something here and start asking questions? We need to move the ship. I'd do it myself, but I don't think now is the best time to practice with something I just learned."
Aegis sighs as she manages to get up on her hooves, hopping away from the tentacle that was binding her, but doesnt spare herself a second of a break as she goes to help Lilura, ''We need to splint her wound. Does anyone have something for it?''
finally putting a hoof to what the lurker reminded me of, i'm relieved to see it slink away though missing the chance to drain some of it's blood. standing once again, i make my way to violet to help her out of the water.
"Goodness! Are you alright, Violet?"Roll #1 6 = 6
I groan as I pull myself up from the ground. Everything hurts, but I put that at the back of my mind as I see Violey over the edge. Standing up, I rush over to her. "Vi!" I shout. "Are you okay? I'm sorry, I tried- I thought I had it."
Zunden rubs her temples, ideas falling flat on her mind the more she thinks about them. She nods to Etrigan.
"I'll move the zhip away but ztill in zight of ze aquaduct zhen. I'm faltering in ideaz in order to azzizt ze ozherz. Az I zhink about it, what better would ze Harbingerz be zhan a cannonball. Eizher one would gain attention, might az well be zwift wizh it."
She sighs, moving the ship further away for now.
"A-Ahh, jeez." the stallion says, trotting in place nervously and looking between Lilura and Violet. "D-Do we need to hunker down and rest for a bit? I'd hate for an injury to get worse while we travel." he says, before looking around in his pack for anything resembling a splint.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
[1d10]Helping Violet upRoll #1 2 = 2
''That wont be necessary if we can treat the injury now''>>730721
Aegis turns to the Violet after she manages to get herself up ''Did you see where if there were any medical supplies stashed in the boxes Miss Violet?''
You get a closer look at her injuries. It seems her left leg is the only fracture she's suffered, thankfully. It looks horrific, but it could be much worse. She's struggling to breathe, flopping onto her back and groaning softly as she stares up at the dank stone ceiling. Dawn looks her over with a worried frown. "Hm… I have never been adept at healing magic, but I do know the basics of it. If I may…"
She doesn't hesitate to accept your help. With your combined strength, Violet manages to get back up, soaked to the bone, shivering and shaking. She gives you a little nod of thanks, though it might just be her teeth chattering. "S-s-so… c-cold…">>731147
She looks absolutely miserable as she flops back out onto solid ground like a seal coming out of the ocean, trembling from the piercing cold of the canal's tar-black waters. "I'm f-f-fine," she says, trying but failing miserably at forcing a smile. She goes to hug you, but then pulls back, still utterly sodden.>>731149>>731150
You manage to find some smallish wooden beams amidst the tent-making equipment, more or less the right dimensions for treating a broken leg, with a bit of ingenuity.>>731152
Violet is too cold to be able to respond, but Lilura forces herself to, feebly pointing at one of the crates. "In there," she manages to bluster before doubling over in pain.>>731146>>731147>>731145>>731149>>730720
You see that Violet now has a pale, whip-like mark across her belly where the Lurker attacked her. Like with Silver's discolored hoof, it's unlikely this will ever fade back. Another scar for the collection.
Up ahead, the canals seem to begin to slope upwards, and the running water grows slightly louder. You must be nearing the exit leading upwards to the aqueduct. You can see two paths that seem to lead in that direction:
A flight of narrow, corkscrew stairs behind a rotting wooden door appears to steer you to the aqueduct. It culminates in a door. Rabi and Aegis would remember having taken this path earlier, which was open before. The aforementioned door is now locked, but appears flimsy. It could be picked, or broken down, making for a more direct route; however, it will be significantly easier for potential enemies to hear you coming.
There are some narrow walkways leading upwards as well, adjacent to a cascade from the aqueduct above. The roaring sound of it is nigh deafening, making it difficult to perceive what may be lurking ahead, as well as making footing here uneven; on the other hand, nothing will be able to see or hear you coming either if you take this more precarious route.
Behind you, where the Incinerator still trundles, you can see some vague silhouettes in the distance. The pointed helmets give away their identities. It seems a few Keepers overheard the commotion, and are coming to investigate shortly. It doesn't seem like they can see you just yet.Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2
Hermodur starts pushing the crates up the narrow walkway. [1d10] to poooshRoll #1 9 = 9
You pilot the ship slightly further away from the city, so as to avoid any more attention from the local gendarmerie. Unluckily, doing so puts you out of cannon range.
Marisol thinks. "Maybe we should send a Harbinger now?" she suggests. "Just to see where they are, and try to organize a rendezvous. The last thing we want is to accidentally blow them to kingdom come."
Etrigan doesn't seem to approve. "What if they intercept the message? We could be putting them in danger. If we do this, we'd have to be careful to send it undetected. Though I suppose it would be difficult to spot, depending on the Harbinger. …We do need to communicate with them a bit more if we're going to do this, though."
Marisol thinks. "I can avoid being seen fairly easily. Maybe I could go instead. …Some rune magic could even allow you to keep track of my whereabouts, or a Harbinger's. Couldn't it?" She seems to doubt her own ideas a little.
"Here, lemme try this-" he says, fishing out some of his tent supplies and passing them over. "Maybe you can whip something up out of this?"
''There is no time for this Master Dawn'' Aegis motions behind the group, to the shadows of the Keepers in the distance before looking on foward>>731154
''What are you doing Master Hermodur? We have not decided-'' Aegis stops herself and follows along ''Fine then, but lets hurry''
Approaching the path ahead, i eye the door with interest before spying the coned helms of the keepers in pursuit. As Hermodur pushes the cart up the ramp, i follow suit behind him.>>731154
"Ah, excellent idea, Hermodur! We're likely to slip away from the keepers this way, provided we keep a brisk pace."
You poosh leetle kart onwards without much effort on your part. Where others would struggle with the weight of it, a lifetime of heavy lifting has made it an easy task for you.
for the options ahead.
"A-Ah, shoot. Well, in that case just load her on my back- I'll carry her, and when we're somewhere safe we can fix her a splint."
''No, she'll be unstable and shake too much on your back, it'll likely make the injuries worse''
"Almost there," Hermodur grunts as he continues to push.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
as the slope increases, i move to the side to help push it along with Hermodur.
[1d10] pushRoll #1 8 = 8
"Ah, thiz iz where I can uze rune magic wizh more truzt in my abilitiez. I could zever a harbinger from ze zight until it returnz to it'z ztatue form. It removez ze rizk of having zomeone living being accozted, and unlike you or me can fly over obzticlez zo it doezn't phyzically get interzepted."
Zunden looks to Rabi's raven statue, forming a Severance orb for future use.
[1d10+1] Severance (Frozen)
"Honeztly, ze ozherz could juzt uze zome of zheir whale ale to open ze wall wizhout making ze alarming noize of ze cannon. All zhat iz required iz uz moving ze zhip up to greet zhem."Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11
I throw my arms around her, septic water be damned. "Almost outta here," I assure her.
I follow along with the others, trying to help push the supplies up the walkway.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
"W-Well, then we have to do something! Are you sure we don't have enough time to give her a splint?"
''I rather we do not take that risk. If we stop further ahead where the falls will muffle our sound it'll be much safer to splint her''
[1d10] Ack!Roll #1 10 = 10
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"I really think we should at least keep the bone stable. That'll really mess things up if you don't."